• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Newbie hugel questions including orientation

 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 124
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
5
urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm planning to put in a small, low hugel this fall for planting greens and herbs in the spring. I have access to a lot of rotted oak logs for building it, plus assorted half-rotted brush from the yard. We're in Zone 5a, with about 44" of snow and and equal amount of rain per year.

1) Which way should I orient the hugel? My initial idea is to orient it almost exactly N-S (shown in dark green). Our property has a gentle slope more or less from west to east; contour lines are in light green. The rear door (which goes to a mudroom off the kitchen) is by the red dot. I'd like to use this hugel as a Zone 1 herb and greens spot, with taller greens to the north and shorter herbs to the south so that the greens don't shade the herbs. The hugel would be slightly off contour, so excess water would hopefully be diverted north towards the neighbors' yard (in Yellow) instead of east towards our foundation. Does that orientation make sense?

2) I'd like to eventually add a hoop house and/or cold frame to this hugel, since it will be the closest to the house and I'd like to harvest greens into the winter eventually. What's the best way to do a hugel that can accept a hoop house or cold frame? Should I use bricks to line the edges such that the cold frame could rest on them?

3) My hope was to do things in the following order:
3.1) build the hugel in the fall
3.2) plant it with clover or other N-fixers
3.3) chop the clover down at the start of winter
3.4) plant it in the spring.
Does that make sense?
hugel_orientation.png
[Thumbnail for hugel_orientation.png]
hugel map
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 446
Location: North-Central Idaho
23
books food preservation fungi hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally I would do more of an wondering orientation with some sunscoop-ish shapes and maybe something to divert cool air running down the slope. Also you might want to take into account prevailing winds, and figure out a way to keep more of that moisture on your property and utilize that resourse(though I don't think lack of moisture is a problem for you, I live out West so I try to keep every bit I can!). As far as the hoophouse goes, if you click the link in my signature line it will take you to an article I wrote detailing how I made my hugelkulture/greenhouse and the results I've had so far. There's also a video on the webpage if you want to see that. You can search hugelkulture greenhouse combination on the forums here and check out that thread too. Your plan for planting sounds pretty good, just make sure to incorporate your hoophouse infrastructure into your hugel while you're building it. It would be a real pain to do after the fact.
 
tompla platom
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
O_o......O_o






คาสิโนออนไลน์ ในรูปแบบใหม่ล่าสุดจาก ปอยเปต คาสิโน รีสอร์ท ได้ที่นี่ royal1688
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 124
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
5
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dave Dahlsrud wrote:Personally I would do more of an wondering orientation with some sunscoop-ish shapes and maybe something to divert cool air running down the slope. Also you might want to take into account prevailing winds, and figure out a way to keep more of that moisture on your property and utilize that resourse(though I don't think lack of moisture is a problem for you, I live out West so I try to keep every bit I can!). As far as the hoophouse goes, if you click the link in my signature line it will take you to an article I wrote detailing how I made my hugelkulture/greenhouse and the results I've had so far. There's also a video on the webpage if you want to see that. You can search hugelkulture greenhouse combination on the forums here and check out that thread too. Your plan for planting sounds pretty good, just make sure to incorporate your hoophouse infrastructure into your hugel while you're building it. It would be a real pain to do after the fact.


Thanks, I will take a look at your HK/greenhouse link!

Water is more the enemy than a friend here - besides the rain and snow (120 days of precipitation a year), we're in a river valley with a high water table. This spring, the water table was about 1" below the surface! Only bare dirt ever seems to dry out here, and only briefly. Sump pumps are near-universal in local basements. And they say the climate here is only going to get wetter!

We've lived in town for 2 years but only on this property for 4 months so far, so we certainly don't know all the nuances of the site. That said, there seem to be no prevailing winds to speak of - there are tall trees to the N and W of us blocking what winds do come off the hill to our W. The slope is very gentle, maybe 5 degrees on our land (though it rapidly gets much steeper as you head west of our property), and there are very dense deciduous shrubs on the western border that seem to block air flow down the hill in warm weather. In winter though we may want a windbreak - thanks for suggesting it.

This proposal is just for the very first mini-hugel - ultimately I'd like to do a bunch of them all through the yard of varying shapes and orientations, but I wanted to start small and near the back door. Suntraps sound like a good plan, since our yard is somewhat shady and we're at 42 degrees latitude. A wandering path makes sense, too - now that you mention it I'll probably do a sinuous shape (still oriented N-S) to maximize edges.
 
David Goodman
gardener
Posts: 496
Location: Zone 9a/8b
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fava beans are a good nitrogen fixer you might consider.
 
Hans Harker
Posts: 114
Location: Chcago IL
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have few thought that may (or may not) be helpful.

Diverting water to neighboring property is illegal here in Illinois, it could be ok as long as the neighbor doesn't mind but if they file a complain one would have to take the structure down.

That being said, a wondering shape would stop more water and force it underneath than a straight line at an angle to the hill.

The sun is pretty high now but later in the year it won't be the case, from the map you drew it looks like the area where you plan for the hoop house is going to be shaded by the house and the garage for a large part of the day.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 124
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
5
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Voy Grabiec wrote:I have few thought that may (or may not) be helpful.

Diverting water to neighboring property is illegal here in Illinois, it could be ok as long as the neighbor doesn't mind but if they file a complain one would have to take the structure down.

That being said, a wondering shape would stop more water and force it underneath than a straight line at an angle to the hill.

The sun is pretty high now but later in the year it won't be the case, from the map you drew it looks like the area where you plan for the hoop house is going to be shaded by the house and the garage for a large part of the day.


Voy,

Thank you, those are excellent points. I definitely don't want to annoy our neighbor or damage the wooden picket fence they have on the property line. And you're right, the back yard in general won't get much sun in the winter, so over-wintering greens in cold frames may not work there. Part of the front yard gets more sun, though it's not nearly as convenient to the back door (or even the front door). Oh well - we'll work with what we've got. I'll put wavy hugels, possibly with sun traps, near the back door, and leave the cold frames / tunnels for a future project in the front if possible.
 
Hans Harker
Posts: 114
Location: Chcago IL
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The idea of stacking functions will take you places. Using the hugel for growing food and keeping water out of your basement qualifies. From what i gather water is going to go down the slope, underneath the mound and collect in a form of an underground lens on the lower side of said mound. It'd suggest that there'd be sufficient distance between the huge and the houses foundation.

If you have enough wood and energy you could male several mounds across the slope or (/and) a Ushaped mound open towards the south that'd work as a sun trap as well.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 124
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
5
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Voy Grabiec wrote:The idea of stacking functions will take you places. Using the hugel for growing food and keeping water out of your basement qualifies. From what i gather water is going to go down the slope, underneath the mound and collect in a form of an underground lens on the lower side of said mound. It'd suggest that there'd be sufficient distance between the huge and the houses foundation.

If you have enough wood and energy you could male several mounds across the slope or (/and) a Ushaped mound open towards the south that'd work as a sun trap as well.


Thanks again! Do you have any idea how much space is enough between the hugel and the house? Does the size of the lens depend on the height of the hugel? I was envisioning a fairly short hugel, basically a raised bed made of wood and soil instead of just soil.

Wood and energy I have, time is the issue. Hopefully in a month or two I'll have a bit more time to tackle this project.
 
Hans Harker
Posts: 114
Location: Chcago IL
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steven Goode wrote:

Thanks again! Do you have any idea how much space is enough between the hugel and the house? Does the size of the lens depend on the height of the hugel? I was envisioning a fairly short hugel, basically a raised bed made of wood and soil instead of just soil.

Wood and energy I have, time is the issue. Hopefully in a month or two I'll have a bit more time to tackle this project.


I wouldn't think the hight of the hugel matters, it'll depend on the amount of water it stops/stores.

Could be like this:


or like this:


I imagine if the mound doesn't do that the house's foundation may act in a similar way but i have very limited actual knowledge of it and would encourage you to keep on investigating.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2295
76
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steven Goode wrote:
1) Which way should I orient the hugel? My initial idea is to orient it almost exactly N-S (shown in dark green). Our property has a gentle slope more or less from west to east; contour lines are in light green. The rear door (which goes to a mudroom off the kitchen) is by the red dot. I'd like to use this hugel as a Zone 1 herb and greens spot, with taller greens to the north and shorter herbs to the south so that the greens don't shade the herbs. The hugel would be slightly off contour, so excess water would hopefully be diverted north towards the neighbors' yard (in Yellow) instead of east towards our foundation. Does that orientation make sense?


My hugels are oriented E-W and I notice big differences as to what likes to grow on the north (cool, shaded) side and the south (warm and sunny) side. You will learn a lot about microclimates tending to your hugels.


2) I'd like to eventually add a hoop house and/or cold frame to this hugel, since it will be the closest to the house and I'd like to harvest greens into the winter eventually. What's the best way to do a hugel that can accept a hoop house or cold frame? Should I use bricks to line the edges such that the cold frame could rest on them?


What I have done is to make row covers by cutting pieces of 6"x6" concrete reinforcement mesh and bending it into channels that I can cover with fabric. If you use the mesh that is 5' in width, you can cut a piece and fold over 1' on each edge and then have a frame for your row cover that is a foot high. Then you use some tent pegs or other type of spike to keep the thing anchored to the hugel so it doesn't blow away in a good wind.

I would also second the suggestion that you plant some fava beans. They are hardy down to ~15F and last winter I had good success growing favas on my hugelbeds under these improvised row covers. If they get good start in the fall, you may be able to harvest some beans by the time the snow comes.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 124
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
5
urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you all! I will have to give fava beans a look. I have never eaten them so I don't know if we'll want to harvest them, but the idea of a fast-growing N-fixer is appealing.

I suspect row covers will have to go somewhere other than the planned hugels near the back door, since that area is shaded in the winter. For now I'm putting that idea on the back burner - there's so much else to get started and so little time!
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic