• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Beginner's first hugel bed - air pocket questions

 
Susan Taylor Brown
Pie
Posts: 141
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
3
bee dog trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am in the process of building my first hugel bed. I didn't have any big pieces of old wood but we just had some trees cut down so I am using that for the edges. In a recent wood chip drop off there was a lot of small twigs and brush so I piled that on the bottom and have begun the layering process. Was too tired today after moving logs to finish filling it up.

I have been reading everything I can about this process and think I am suffering from information overload. I could use some help straightening things out in my head.

I seem to recall reading somewhere about not having any air pockets in the bed.
Then I seem to recall reading that compacting the bed and doing away with the air pockets is bad.
Hence, my confusion.

I know there are gaps between the logs. I can't use a chainsaw to make smaller logs so I am working with what I have. In my mind the only problems with space between the logs is potential for rodents (that will keep the dog busy) and losing dirt. Is there any other reason not to have air gaps like that? Right now I am all about improving the soil however I can so I will be making hugel beds so I can compost in place and grow my own dirt. I will seed with a variety of things, haven't made my mind up yet. I will probably go back and fill some of the bigger gaps with chunks of wood but other than that, I think I am ready to keep filling it up unless someone points out something I missed. It isn't super tall but I am happy with the design and fine will having to top it off as it settles.

Thanks in advance.

first hugel 031516.jpg
[Thumbnail for first hugel 031516.jpg]
Beginnings of my first hugel
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2295
76
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The dirt that you put on top will, over time, fill in the big air pockets. Settling of the hugel bed occurs by two mechanisms: (1) decay of the biomass when it ceases to be able to support the weight on top of it, and (2) small particles of clay and silt being carried down with each heavy rain. Countering that is what is called by hugelkulturologists "critter activity": digging by toads, snakes, rabbits, lizards, along with castings from earthworms, brought up from below and deposited up on top.

When my hugels get to point where the shape and contour are acceptable, I finish them off with a couple inches of wood chips (the longer they have decayed, the better) and then an inch of topsoil for a nice seed bed.
 
Susan Taylor Brown
Pie
Posts: 141
Location: Scotts Valley, California Zone 9B
3
bee dog trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, John. You are my go-to guy tonight. I need to probably quit overthinking things so much. I had so much fun building today. Can't wait to get back out there again tomorrow.
Susan


John Elliott wrote:The dirt that you put on top will, over time, fill in the big air pockets. Settling of the hugel bed occurs by two mechanisms: (1) decay of the biomass when it ceases to be able to support the weight on top of it, and (2) small particles of clay and silt being carried down with each heavy rain. Countering that is what is called by hugelkulturologists "critter activity": digging by toads, snakes, rabbits, lizards, along with castings from earthworms, brought up from below and deposited up on top.

When my hugels get to point where the shape and contour are acceptable, I finish them off with a couple inches of wood chips (the longer they have decayed, the better) and then an inch of topsoil for a nice seed bed.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1043
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
7
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My above ground Hughels became rodent havens. I left plent of air spaces.
I am now doing them below ground, and filling in the soil as I go, so far, no rodents have moved in.

Ymmv
 
Bridget Miskell
Posts: 8
Location: zone 4 Maine
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are on our second year growing this way, it grow lovely veggies but all the snow and rain doesn't seem to have helped it, it looks very washed away, we are not sure what to do besides putting more soil or compost on it
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic