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Where are they now? hugelkultur updates?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 213
Location: Beavercreek, Oregon
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So is it better to throw soil on the wood, or manure? I would imagine fresh manure would complement the carbon in the wood and the wood would keep the manure from compacting and becoming anaerobic.
 
Posts: 14
Location: Great Whitstone Isle of the Lake Seas
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I did a mini hugelkultur with a water harvesting french drain by my apartment. I first only did the hugelkulturs (2 years ago) and found that because of the roof overhang and the stairs of my apartment were preventing it from collecting water and had to manually water it ever three weeks minimum. It grew spectacularly either way. But because I wanted to be able to leave this garden so that it is self sufficient and was a long term lazy gardener I put in the water harvesting french drain this past spring, and I only had to water it once because we had a long dry spell. Slugs ended up loving what I grew last year - which were all annuals any way, so I took the next step of putting in perennials - haskap, current, goji, beebalm, etc. We'll see how well they've established themselves come spring. I've put together a photo essay on the water harvesting french drain, along with the animated gif on how well it did last year here - http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pathsthroughtheforests/2015/05/11/saegoah-pursuits-gardening-with-rainwater-harvesting-earthworks-a-photo-essay/
 
Posts: 39
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Cassie,

Hugelkultur picture for you!

foodproduction101.com/pictures

 
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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I've had pretty dismal luck with my huglekultures. I'm guessing I didn't put enough nitrogen generating stuff in to make up for all the nitrogen being sucked out of the soil
by the wood rotting. Small sickly plants when they do come up.

I'm sure it's all my fault, so not questioning the technique.

 
Posts: 183
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
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2015 update: 2nd year (constructed in fall of 2013)

see link below to follow from the construction up till now.
http://permies.com/t/29919/hugelkultur/large-Hugelkultur-Work-Progress

here's some recent photos:
Note: I didn't give it much attention this year due to serious issues that consumed my time!
Hugelbed_Large_2015-06-20-sm.JPG
[Thumbnail for Hugelbed_Large_2015-06-20-sm.JPG]
Hugelbed_Large_2015-06-20-(2)-sm.JPG
[Thumbnail for Hugelbed_Large_2015-06-20-(2)-sm.JPG]
 
pollinator
Posts: 769
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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I am interested to see more photos of Hugelkultur beds (1st and later years).
Does someone here has experience with Hugelkultur in a (sub)tropical climate? F.e. in combination with swales?

Here's a photo of my miniature Hugelkulture, the first is there for a year now, the other is new. They are built on top of the pavement ... I think that's an interesting experiment. There are good reasons to do it that way: when I leave this rented place, the garden can be returned to what it was before, and the soil (of the Hugel-beds) can be used in another permaculture project (like the community garden of Permacultuur Meppel).  
 
Posts: 79
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This thread is a great idea. Does anyone have any further updates on their hugels? Or on anyone else's for that matter...
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
Posts: 769
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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just came back from three weeks at CuraƧao ... saw spring sprang here in the Netherlands; my Hugels are getting green of new seedlings (probably radishes, they self-seeded)
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
Posts: 769
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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In this video I made in early summer you can see my two Hugelbeds. I must admit there are not much vegetables growing in there, most 'living mulch'. I'll do my best to plant more edibles there next year.
https://youtu.be/1dwCK1Tkr1U  
 
garden master
Posts: 1254
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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First year for mine has been good n bad. The small hugel beds I made did not deal with the drought well but I'm not too worried about it for the long run. More heavily mulched now and I will only be planting perennial plants along it.

My large hugel bed did great but got hit hard by deer. It is now fully fenced and I'm going to be adding a bunch of shrubs some small trees (on the edge of the hugel, not on it) and more lupins this winter n spring. I will also be adding some more mulch in a few spots. Even despite the deer the bed did good and I'm excited for next year.

This fall and winter I'm also building a brand new 100ish foot long hugel bed that will extend my existing large hugel that I talked about above. I will be planting it heavily with shrubs, small trees on the north edge and a fair bit of lupins. Taking some lessons learned from my first large bed - I modified my planting list and I will be fencing it to keep deer out from the very start.

Next summer I will post some pics of my first hugel beds (small and large ones) to compare with the first year pics. I will also post some pics of my new first year hugel bed.

Depending on time I may also be making some hugel garden beds which will be my first vegetable focused hugel beds. My other hugel beds are all perennial focused with mostly shrubs and small trees.
 
Cris Bessette
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Posts: 856
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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I must be the worst huglekulturer on earth.  Nothing will grow on the three I started about 4 years ago.

I've tried to stick to the permaculture philosophy of avoiding bringing stuff in from outside, and only using what's on my land.
So that means no manure or fertilizer.  I pile leaves and grass clippings on them every year (green manure).  They only get water from rain as they are too far
from the house to run a hose.
In the last four years or so I've planted soy beans, pinto beans, collard greens, squash, flowers, herbs,etc. on them and anything I plant just
barely grows or produces.

Clearly they are too dry and devoid of nutrients.  I'm thinking about breaking my rules next year and buying bags of manure in hopes of kick starting them somewhat.
I did dig a small pond near the mounds this year so next year I will have an irrigation source to water things.  Maybe that will help.
 
Posts: 219
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
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Cris Bessette wrote:I must be the worst huglekulturer on earth.  Nothing will grow on the three I started about 4 years ago.  




What type of wood did you start with and what are you mulching with?  Could there be something in there with negative allelopathic properties?  What's the soil like that you used on the bed?  Do plants grow well in the same soil elsewhere?  

I also have little to no access to high-nitrogen materials, so I sympathize.
 
Cris Bessette
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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I used mostly rotted logs. leaves,etc from the surrounding forest.  I also used old dried out sticks, bamboo, pine saplings I had cut.
I'm mulching with fall leaves- mostly oak, maple, poplar.  Also with green lawn clippings mulched by my mower.

The lack of nitrogen rich stuff is what led to planting soy beans and other nitrogen fixers in the past few years.  


I think I might dig down into one of them in the next few days and see what is going on in there.  

 
Daron Williams
garden master
Posts: 1254
Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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When building the beds how much soil did you add to them?
 
Cris Bessette
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I put probably about 6-9 " (15-22cm) of dirt on top of the mounds of wood and rotted plant material.
 
Posts: 85
Location: Castelo Branco, Portugal
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Hi guys, can you describe the climate where you are, what type of soil you have and the conditions (dry area, wet or water logged) of the place where the hugels are?
 
Daron Williams
garden master
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Cris Bessette wrote:I put probably about 6-9 " (15-22cm) of dirt on top of the mounds of wood and rotted plant material.



So the soil was just added on top of the final mound of wood and plant material?
 
Daron Williams
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Andre Lemos wrote:Hi guys, can you describe the climate where you are, what type of soil you have and the conditions (dry area, wet or water logged) of the place where the hugels are?



All of mine are in very gravely dry areas but there is a fair bit of clay too. Each hugel is on the edge of old parking areas and a dirt road. I'm trying to create a hedge row to provide privacy and start restoring some old compacted parking areas. Most of my hugel beds run east and west with their long sides facing north and south.

Next bed will be along a dirt road but on top of an existing lawn so a bit better soil than the others.

Climate here is very wet in the fall, winter and spring averaging 50ish inches of rain but most of it in Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb. Very little to no snow during the winter and the ground does not freeze for more than a few days at a time and easy to keep it from freezing with mulch. Summers here are very dry - this year we got almost no rain from late June through mid September. Summer temps tend to be in the 80s but we do get into the 90s on and off.

I like to build my hugel beds in the fall and winter so they can sit a bit and settle before planting. I do most of my shrub and tree plantings in February.
 
Cris Bessette
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Daron Williams wrote:

Cris Bessette wrote:I put probably about 6-9 " (15-22cm) of dirt on top of the mounds of wood and rotted plant material.



So the soil was just added on top of the final mound of wood and plant material?



As far as I remember, yes.  Maybe I should have mixed soil into the wood an other stuff?
 
Daron Williams
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Cris Bessette wrote: As far as I remember, yes.  Maybe I should have mixed soil into the wood an other stuff?



Well my beds are only about a year old so I'm not an expert but I think mixing soil in would help. When I made mine I tried to fill all the void spaces between the wood with soil as I built it.

For mine I put the large wood down and mixed soil and some green plant material with the wood until there was no void spaces left and I had a complete mound. Next I put smaller wood pieces on top of that and then added more soil on top of that to fill the voids between the smaller wood pieces. I then added a mulch layer on top of the final layer of soil.

My large hugel beds handled the drought fairly well and I had no rodent issues. Plus the plants got established well and grew a lot in their first year. Only thing that seemed to hold it back was the deer pressure.

I think the key is to not make a brush pile with a topping of soil but instead think of it as a earthen berm fortified by wood throughout. I think if done this way the hugel bed will stay much more moist and the plants should have a much easier time getting established since there will be more room for their roots. It should also be easier for a fungal system to grow throughout since it can use the soil to grow between the wood pieces. I have had tons of mushrooms coming up in my hugel beds.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Andre Lemos wrote:Hi guys, can you describe the climate where you are, what type of soil you have and the conditions (dry area, wet or water logged) of the place where the hugels are?


I built my Hugelbeds on top of the existing pavement. The 'soil' here is sand. It needs organic material to make something grow in it. So 'why not build 'hills' of all organic materials?', was my thought.  The climate is rainy, cloudy. I made my Hugelbeds with one long side towards the South, to be in the sun as much as possible (really sunny days are rare in this climate). The North side is more like a support wall, made of concrete tiles.
 
                            
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I assume that you mean urine. I pee on mine. I've also added 5 tons of coffee grounds. If the top foot has adequate nitrogen, that's probably enough. If the entire mound were infused with nitrogen, the wood would quickly decay.



I too have 4 55 gal barrels with coffee grounds.
My hugelbed has one layer of logs and 2 FEET of wood chips on top.

Will spread the grounds on and off depending on when we ever get any rain.

After a few rains, cover with MORE coffee grounds then dirt.

Fingers crossed I don't start a fire!
 
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