• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Questions about Sepp Holzer's raised beds  RSS feed

 
Chris Dean
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
<img src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/_7B8K2_Q0PBk/SWZwy_H37BI/AAAAAAAADsk/Ig02uw3gt8s/s640/Holzer%20Raised%20Bed%20-Diagram%20-LRG.JPG">

1. Above is a diagram of Sepp's raised bed design.  In his video I didn't see the rocks that are drawn here, and it says they store the heat.  Am I right to think that in a warmer climate the rocks would not be necessary?

2. Where do you walk?  You could walk in the ditch until you get to a tree, how do you go around it without stepping on the soil beds--do you use the rocks?

3. The only placement I've heard him talk about is in opposition to wind.  In his video he has some running downhill on a mountain slope and some on a semi-flat piece of land.  Does water collection not play a part in his beds?  Let me clarify: I understand that they work as a capillary, pulling water out when there's too much and pulling it up when there is too little.  But if you have a row of beds running down the side of a slope will most of the water go to the bottom or will the hugel beds simply suck it all up evenly throughout the bed?

4. How does he sow the vegetables into the beds?  You see him kicking some dirt over a little bit, but is this how he does the entire bed?  Would covering them with mulch (hay, leaves, etc) work?
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree with you, I'd like some Sepp details myself....

I would think cold air would pool or become trapped in those ditches unless they were running vertically down hill, but then as the cold air sinks - runs down hill so will the water....
Questions and more questions.

In the  mean time - Can you post the link to the diagram you show?
 
Chris Dean
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jami-ah yes I hadn't thought about air.  I wonder if the heat generated by the hugel bed would emanate to the sides

Link for the image: http://lh5.ggpht.com/_7B8K2_Q0PBk/SWZwy_H37BI/AAAAAAAADsk/Ig02uw3gt8s/s640/Holzer%20Raised%20Bed%20-Diagram%20-LRG.JPG

if you search google images for "holzer raised bed" or other variations there are larger formats
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
rocks are useful even in warm climates, depending on rainfall, because they help maintain moist soil. They also make great permanent mulch!
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
    Heat gets lost when there is a heat differencial, more at night when the air is much colder than the rocks than during the day. Earth is an accumulator of heat that is it has pretty good conductive qualities so it passes the heat in. It is a while since i chequed up on the ins and outs of what makes a material into a good one to be used as thermal mass but rok s make thermal mass and so does earth and thermal mass absorbes you heat and take longer to loose it when things get cool at night than materials that are not good as thermal mass.
    sepp holzer is so lavish with all the possible care he can give to his plants.      He has a south facing bit of the alpes, i wonder what he would do with a slope that faced in another direction. South facing slopes suffer from getting dry according to a gardening book. The rain runs off them because they are a slope and the sun heats them.

    It is usefull to see the drawing i suppose that is a big ditch and you can walk round the tree, maybe you just have to scramble a bit like you do on farms over hedges and through barbed wire. agri rose macaskie
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emile Spore wrote:
rocks are useful even in warm climates, depending on rainfall, because they help maintain moist soil. They also make great permanent mulch!


I have a huge quantity of smallish rocks which I'm digging from my kitchen garden beds as I install hugel beds.  Currently I'm piling them around the downhill perimeter of the garden in a low wall.  Is there a better use I could be putting them to?  I'm in a hot dry climate with periodic floods.

 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hozomeen wrote:
Jami-ah yes I hadn't thought about air.  I wonder if the heat generated by the hugel bed would emanate to the sides

Link for the image: http://lh5.ggpht.com/_7B8K2_Q0PBk/SWZwy_H37BI/AAAAAAAADsk/Ig02uw3gt8s/s640/Holzer%20Raised%20Bed%20-Diagram%20-LRG.JPG

if you search google images for "holzer raised bed" or other variations there are larger formats


Thanks so much.... now how did you know I wanted a larger size    I ended up coping and pasting into Word, turned the layout horizontal and expanded the image - poof I could easily see all the details. 

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
that would work in his climate but not mine, as if i planted things down in that hole..or ditch..they would drown here..we need to have the water run off..not settle around the roots like that..we would also have a lot of winter kill.

we need to establish drainage on our property with our high water table, even in droughts we seldom have to water anything
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great point Brenda, the same applies where I live and is good to remember.
 
Scotia Scott
Posts: 12
Location: Laurentians, Quebec (zone 3b)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have also been wondering about what Sepp might do for mulching on his raised beds. 

Particularly, seeing that he spreads a mix of 40-50 different seeds on his raised beds when they are freshly made (* see below), I am trying to envision the timing/relationship between seeding and mulching.  So, wondering then if the seed mix is going down on bare soil, on a layer of mulch, or perhaps the bed is getting mulched after seeding/after seeds germinate (or, perhaps no mulch at all...).

*  "While the JCB is still busy Sepp plants more than 1500 fruit trees here and throws out his seed mixture of 40 to 50 different plants."
    (from 'http://www.oekofilm.de/index.php?id=40,38,0,0,1,0'
 
Scotia Scott
Posts: 12
Location: Laurentians, Quebec (zone 3b)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To comment on the image and issue of rocks on the raised beds, Paul does write in his article on sepp holzer's Permaculture that:

"In the videos, Sepp's hugelkultur beds were about two to three feet tall. During the classes, he felt that the beds should be built to be a little taller than the height of the person doing the harvesting. And the edges are all soil. No rocks or logs. And the edges are very steep!"

Perhaps this is a new insight of Sepp's, in contrast to what he was doing when creating the image... or maybe there's some additional understanding to be had on the matter.
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
25
books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hum.... I wonder - is Sepp saying "higher than the person" for ease of harvesting or for some other relationship going on?

See to me that's the crux of the matter - the reasons behind the process.  How can I judge if something is right for me, right for my soil/weather or if it needs adjusted, when I do not know the reasonings behind it.....

I am hoping for more information beyond Paul's article and the videos.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brenda Groth wrote:
that would work in his climate but not mine, as if i planted things down in that hole..or ditch..they would drown here..we need to have the water run off..not settle around the roots like that..we would also have a lot of winter kill.



There are a lot of productive and edible bog plants that might grow in the ditch portion in wet climates or places with a high water table - cattails, taro, fuki, canna, camassia, probably many more I'm not thinking of off the top of my head....
 
                  
Posts: 2
Location: Northern California
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I noticed on one of the youtubes videos on Sepp's terraces that the fruit trees are on the edge of the raised beds, not in the center of them as in the diagram,  leaving the paths between them open for walking. It looks like these is a meter or so wide paths.
 
rose macaskie
Posts: 2134
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We do very few exercises lifting our hands in the air, maybe sepp wanted to exercise the upper part of our body,when he made the beds so tall or does he make the ditches so low between them? what scotia scot say on sepps holzers beds is interesting .
I think he is the sort of person that might make things look too hard to a begginer if you get good slowly at making hugglekulture beds, maybe in the fulness of time you can come to make enormouse ones, taller than a man with steep sides but the idea makes me feel a bit overwhelmed, i am not into hiring and manipulating diggers yet and even if i was making beds that high seems difficult. He has more than a forty types of seed to sow on his beds, what a guy, i suppose a brave person would say, well, i will have sixty.
   i wonder about hugglekulture beds, do they sink with time?  They make me think of tombs, will the police come to see who you have buried?

I suppose that high growing cereals means more straw for the earth as mulch or compost also more shade while it grows a thicker layer of  microclimate to cover the globe.   agri rose macaskei.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ludi, i have enough wet areas growing cattails and other bog plants, to creat another one would just be a waste of space.

I do do raised beds and hugel..but not the beds with low areas between like that..as the low areas here really need to drain.

here is a link to what we were doing the last two days working on our pond banks, you can see that we dug out tons of cattails..but they will be back in the shallow pond areas.

http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hozomeen wrote:

3. The only placement I've heard him talk about is in opposition to wind.  In his video he has some running downhill on a mountain slope and some on a semi-flat piece of land.  Does water collection not play a part in his beds?  Let me clarify: I understand that they work as a capillary, pulling water out when there's too much and pulling it up when there is too little.  But if you have a row of beds running down the side of a slope will most of the water go to the bottom or will the hugel beds simply suck it all up evenly throughout the bed?

4. How does he sow the vegetables into the beds?  You see him kicking some dirt over a little bit, but is this how he does the entire bed?  Would covering them with mulch (hay, leaves, etc) work?



*disclaimer: The following is me going by memory from info found in Sepp's Permakultur book, and a video about Sepp which I can't find anymore...


3. In the book he has a diagram and description that addresses this.  The diagram shows a swale at the top of a series of beds, and another swale running below the beds, with a second set of beds below the second swale.

He says that generally, beds on a hill should be positioned diagonally against the slope, not straight across or straight down. He said that going straight across was bad because it can hold too much water at the top, leaving too little water for the beds below, and its bad to have them running straight downhill because the water flows away too quickly. The diagonal beds strike a balance between these, allowing some water to soak into the beds, and some to flow to lower elevations. He doesn't mention if this is good for both clay and sandy soil though.


4. I'm not sure how he sows veggies in established beds, but in the book he says that newly made hugelkultur beds should be seeded as soon as possible before the soil settles. No mention of mulching that I can recall

I have also seen a video where I think he was tossing seeds into a bed, with pea seeds in the mix. He would send his pigs in to the area, who would search for the pea seeds and in turn, bury the other seeds.

I've also seen him sow seeds into an area, and then he mentions that he'll drive a tractor over the area to press teh seeds in. I've also seen him throw seeds in a bed and then walk away.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
176
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brenda Groth wrote:
Ludi, i have enough wet areas growing cattails and other bog plants, to creat another one would just be a waste of space.


I wasn't so much aiming my comment at you personally, because you have mentioned you already have pond and bog areas, it was more a general comment toward anyone who lives in a wet climate or who has a high water table.  There's just so many things you can grow (that I wish I could grow) in damp areas.    I look at your pics and have pond envy! 
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I  wonder if the recommended height of the beds would be taking into account decomposition , settling and some erosion?
 
Attractive, successful people love this tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - boots-to-roots
https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!