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How many inches of dirt between layers of wood in the hugelkuktur?

 
Travis Roesler
Posts: 19
Location: Chester County Pennsylvania
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Hey guys, so I'm shooting for a massive hugelkultur... Ideally 7 feet tall.

I just laid the massive logs on the bottom, and I'm wondering how much dirt to put on top before throwing on the next layer of logs? I was shooting for 6 inches or so, by that seems like it's going to be a lot of top soil.

Anyhow, does anyone have a basic guideline for the number of inches both between logs laying next to each other, and on top of logs before throwing down another layer of wood?

I actually have the W.D.G DVD set, but it won't let me fast forward it... I can't bring myself to watch it twice for this one nugget of info.

Cheers everyone, thank you in advance for the replies.
 
Tracy Wandling
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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Hi Travis;

I really don't think there is a recipe for this. When I built my buried wood beds (basically a buried hugelkultur) I didn't use any soil at all! We live on sand, and have a minuscule amount of top soil. So, my beds are built with grass/leaves/woodchips between the log layers, but not any specific amount, just filled in the gaps and used whatever was on hand. You want as much variety in there as you can get, to really get the bacterial and fungal goodies happening. We threw in grass clippings as The Man mowed the fields, and weeds, leaves, kitchen waste, dead plants, whatever! My beds are basically topped with a 2-3 foot layer of mulch: year-old grass/leaves/weeds, and some year-old wood chips, with a little sand. The only soil used was what went in with the transplants, and maybe a hand full here and there as the transplant went in. And everything is growing quite happily!

So, in my ever so humble opinion, just put in whatever you have, and try to fill in the gaps as best you can (it's all going to sink as it breaks down anyway, so don't look for perfection), get a lot of variety in there (browns and greens) and plant! If you have topsoil, save it for the top.

Let me know if this makes sense to you. It worked for me! Good luck.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Tracy Wandling
pollinator
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Posts: 308
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
24
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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Here are some photos of the building of the bed. As you can see, we just put stuff in the all higgledy-piggledy, although we did try to put the newer, bigger wood on the bottom, and the older stuff on top.
Building-garden-beds.jpg
[Thumbnail for Building-garden-beds.jpg]
The building of the buried wood beds
 
Travis Roesler
Posts: 19
Location: Chester County Pennsylvania
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Hey Tracy,

This was very useful... sorry for not getting back to you.

I drastically lessened the amount of soil that I used between layers upon reading this, and STILL didn't have enough top soil for the 'top' of the bed. 

Good stuff!
 
Tracy Wandling
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Posts: 308
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
24
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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Hi Travis;

I'm glad it helped. Yes, soil around here is basically non-existent. So I improvised. If you've got any sort of bulk organic material, chop it up fine, and spread it deep. Then just use your precious bits of soil right where the plants will go in. Or in the spots where you're planting seed.

Looking forward to pictures!
 
Ed Farmer
Posts: 8
Location: Klamath Falls Oregon
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I'm still trying to learn. But I think I'm trying to loosely fill the voids. Not doing so seems to be one factor in rodent control. If I leave a very loose network, there's an easy place for rodents to establish a home. It's the dirt I need along with aire soil. Plus, adding enough soil to use like concrete while I add layers.

This is a great thread to help establish my first.
 
Tracy Wandling
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
24
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
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Hi Ed;

Yes, filling the voids is important, not only for rodent control, but so that the beds don't sink/settle too much. Also, if there are a lot of big pieces of wood with spaces between, there isn't anything down there for the plant roots to grow in and get nutrients from. Because of the nature of the materials used to build hugelkultur, I don't think having enough air is ever a problem. Most people seem to have more trouble getting enough material to fill in between the larger logs and branches. Just remember that it doesn't have to be soil, it can be any organic material: leaves, grass, wood chips, weeds, kitchen and garden waste - just about anything really. My soil-less buried wood beds are doing great, and they hold moisture really well. The plants seem to be getting enough nutrients, and are healthy and delicious. So, if you are short on soil, using other organic material - not only inside the bed, but on top, too - works just as well.

Good luck with your garden!

Cheers
Tracy
 
Ed Farmer
Posts: 8
Location: Klamath Falls Oregon
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On my property, I even have a seasonal lake. I'll mix some of the lake bed in with everything else. Thank you.
 
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