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Approx 200ft of hugel based beds, limited tools

 
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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hugelkultur fungi chicken
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So I have been having fun with lots of fallen trees. Well actually about an acre. Having recently acquired land to build a home and establish all sorts of growth the first thing we needed was sunlight! The actual moment that felling started was sad (actually very), I love trees! The forest floor was a peaceful place that I had hardly gotten to know. The wooded area was full of oak- red, white and some other, hickory, maple and a few this and that. We have a few more acres that will be left intact. Anywho, having cleared a place for our home, drain-field and growing area... This messy spot was screaming some sort of hugel work.

The issues are/were: limited tools- I have 2 20ft 7k lbs chains, a come along, a 4x4 truck and a farm boss. The site is a south/east grade, almost intense at times. Lots of trees and stumps in the way. Limited money. I have a 40 hour job. Really can't stand to sit another growing season out (having recently sold our last home to make this happen).

The pros are/were: I have been actively reading as much on Hugelkulture for maybe 2 years now for some reason. This site is awesomely filled with examples. I placed old wood in the bottom of my raised beds before and it seemed they needed less water than the others. I don't see this as work. I have been receiving spent coffee grinds from a local shop. About to receive food waste from a local shop. Chipped about 8 pickup loads of tree tops. I have chickens to help add to the N needs. A cousin will load me up from his winter barn where the cows stayed. The forest floor is rich with leaf mold and in some places 8 to 12 inches of leaves.



And the story highlights..

At first I thought maybe I could direct the way the larger trees fell so that the beds would be close to making there selves. Not true. They fell the way they wanted.

Didn't quite know how to move all this into place and had many thoughts I will leave out. A conversation or two and the idea of using the stumps to hold the logs on the hillside was born. Now the question, how likely could it be that any of the stumps or logs would be in the right place...

Turns out, everything is in the right place. I actually can not believe how the dots are connecting here.. There are logs up hill that need to come downhill and stumps that some how are magically in a line..

To this point I have created/started 4 beds. With at least 3 or 4 more planned.. We will see how it happens though.. None of these beds are dug into the ground. All of the the larger logs are packed with smaller twigs/branches from the tree tops. I am trying to desolve as much tree as possibly into these beds. I am also adding wood chips and leaves early to help dense pack to keep as few creatures from living in them as possible.

The first is a semi tree driven summer shade bed. Excellent for my favorite crops. Kale, spinach, etc.
This bed is interesting as it stacks up to about 4 feet and is shaped like a triangle, so the back is just a bunch of logs. I could see this helpful with air. Any thoughts? The growing space is about 17ft by 4ft. This bed is full of logs- new and old, wood chips, coffee, chicken poo, compost, leaves. I will top dress it with wood chips and hopefully old hay(that i do not have).



The second bed has a good base, It is in full sun and towards the bottom of the slope. It is half or less what it will be length. It is about 30 feet long and 4 to 5 feet wide. So far it is about 2 feet deep.


The third bed connects to the second and runs north to south (almost). It is 45 ft long and 6 to 7 feet wide. No too much has been added to it yet, the outline and a large log with more other smaller logs. Full sun again but with the possibility of an East and West side, height depending.



The fourth bed is really just a few logs that happen to be on the bottom of a pile and is a few hours away from being started. I don't have pics of this one yet but will. It is full sun, perhaps no morning sun.




And now for the pictures because I don't know how to add them to my post.


 
Willy Walker
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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Picture when most of the trees were still intact. And a picture when they were down. Not really seeing the heartland of the mess but thats ok..
IMG_20141118_131528.jpg
when most of the trees were still intact
when most of the trees were still intact
IMG_0412.JPG
And a picture when they were down.
And a picture when they were down.
 
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Location: Raleigh, NC (7b)
hugelkultur forest garden urban
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This sounds great Willy - Nice use for the stumps!
 
Willy Walker
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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The first bed
IMG_0595.JPG
2 stumps were just below this log
2 stumps were just below this log
IMG_0599.JPG
Some where mid way
Some where mid way
IMG_0607.JPG
The back side
The back side
 
Willy Walker
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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The second bed. Lacking a few pictures but this is a third of the whole run and is only the base is started.
IMG_0661.JPG
The base for the second bed.
The base for the second bed.
IMG_0660.JPG
this is a third of the whole run
this is a third of the whole run
 
Willy Walker
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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The third bed is the second third. This one took a bit of work moving these logs. You can see where the log started in the first picture by the pieces. It was moved about 7 feet over and 5 feet down.
IMG_0676.JPG
You can see where the log started by the pieces
You can see where the log started by the pieces
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took a bit of work moving these logs
took a bit of work moving these logs
IMG_0685.JPG
The third bed is the second third.
The third bed is the second third.
 
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Wonderful description and photos Willy, thank you for this thread. I look forward to seeing more posting as you build all these incredible mounds.
 
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Location: north end of the Keweenaw Mi.
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off to a great start Willy keep up the good work

Mike
 
Willy Walker
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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Still working..

This bed is shaping up. This pic is a few weeks old by now and I continue to add chicken manure 5 gallons at a time as the hens make it. I am shooting to plant in this by fall. Hopefully.

IMG_0768.JPG
I continue to add chicken manure 5 gallons at a time as the hens make it
I continue to add chicken manure 5 gallons at a time as the hens make it
 
Willy Walker
Posts: 103
Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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Thats just about all of the beds. There are two more that don't have pictures at the moment and created them to clean up areas but will focus on getting all of these beds into shape first.
IMG_1144.JPG
There are two more
There are two more
IMG_1147.JPG
I created them to clean up areas
I created them to clean up areas
IMG_1150.JPG
the base
the base
 
Willy Walker
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Location: Foot of the Mountain, Front Royal VA
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Working on compost to feed these beds. I have a while to go yet....



IMG_1094.JPG
Working on compost to feed these beds
Working on compost to feed these beds
IMG_1097.JPG
compost
compost
 
Posts: 519
Location: Wisconsin
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Impressive, that looks like a great piece of land!
 
pollinator
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Location: South West France
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Go Willy go !

That looks exactly like our garden when we moved to our new land fifteen years ago.

It's a lot of work but, believe me, it's worth it.
 
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