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Giant hugel beds for a living fence  RSS feed

 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 77
Location: Central Maine
2
hugelkultur tiny house trees
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I live on a a forest lot in central maine.  We recently had it minimally cleared to provide a clearing for a house and a food forest.  There is now massive amounts of hugel bed material all over my lot.  We use anything that can be used for firewood as such, but we still have plenty of good hugel stuff.
"One of the projects I am the most excited about is my giant hugelkulturs. This is also one of the projects that will take the longest to complete, if it is ever complete. I want to build a hugelkultur bed all the way around my lot. Almost like a fence, but full of life instead. It will be both beautiful and hugely beneficial to the plants, animals, bugs, and, of course, my family."
Every project I do, I re locate more and more rotten logs, branches, and leaves onto the beds.  The first parts of the bed should be growing healthy veggies this summer.  For perspective, I have a long, skinny, almost 8 acre lot.
"I will continue to build the giant hugel bed at various spots along the property line and eventually they should all come together. I will plant cover crops, herbs, bushes, and trees as the beds mature and can provide what all the plants need. It should be a wonderful ecosystem all it’s own in just a few years."
I'm very interested in any input people may have about plants for a living fence in a shady hugel bed in a temperate climate.  Or any other thoughts.

The post I did on my blog of this project:
http://homesteadhouligan.com/2016/12/05/building-giant-hugel-beds/
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William Bronson
Posts: 1288
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
13
forest garden trees urban
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I have no experience  building hugles as fences, but I love the idea.
Pauls place has a berm shed that is
open on one side,earthen on the top and other side.
A palisade fence or junk pole fence(as detailed on this site), could be one side and of the hugle,with all the slash,etc, piled against it.
Planting the hugles with willow stakes and/or osage orange could make it onto a living fence on top of your hugles berm.
Grape vines or kiwi could knit things together.

 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1121
Location: northern northern california
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i love this idea, i have had this thought too. would be much easier and faster if you have an earth mover of some kind, even a small one.

i think you will like the idea of a dead hedge.

Grateful-Dead-Hedge

building a dead hedge, & how it'll be magically (naturally) transformed into a hugelkultur hedgerow

after building a dead hedge you could cover it with dirt...

but the coolest thing about a dead hedge is that you can turn it into a living hedge, and the dead hedge would provide shelter and protection for your small plants and seedlings on either side of the dead hedge. you could plant young prolific plants, basically right underneath all the edge and keep them somewhat disguised and a bit protected, especially if you use brambles and thornies in your dead hedge.

the idea being the roses, brambles, berries, climbers, passionflowers, etc etc etc...would eventually take over the hedge, by climbing all over it as it decomposes slowly...
 
Sean Pratt
Lab Ant
Posts: 62
Location: Rensselaer New York
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it all sounds legit to me. it is basically what i have done one the top boundary of my plot at wheaton labs last May and for me it has worked. I piled one to three feet of logs and tree tops left over from my cabin building the whole way. Evan was nice enough to come over and run the excavator. he took scoops from the far side of the hugel and pulled them on top of the brush . along the way we decided to add some randomness for micro climate. its very deep sub soil so we got them very high in spots. one thing i wish i did is to put a small terrace midway on the tall ones before planting. they are to steep to easily harvest or to tall in spots. other than that i am very happy with the shape and height of them. some are 12 feet or more above the bottom of the trench i believe. when Evan finished i started throwing down cover crop seeds every time it down poured during the storms. all sorts got added. then i got some "survival garden" packs off ebay and added them as well to see what veggies grow. around June its got to damn hot and i started to mulch them with what ever i had around  ( mostly pine branches) . this gave enough shade to give my plants a chance.mustard and diakon took over . some other flowers and veggies to . it was really pretty.by fall i got a decent amount of squashes and sunflowers. then the next round of planting started. i got free fruit from Missoula lawns and planted the seeds in my berms . apricots, plums wild and cultivated, apples, cherries , nanking cherries, maple, alder, mountain ash, choke cherry, hawthorn, pear and black locust are the trees i can remember. the herbage i planted was "weed mix" i collected over the spring and summer months yarrow, clover, alfalfa ect.

i have yet to see what trees are there this spring i wont be home till around may 17th. one year to the day from the first earthworks. i am a little worried that the settling of my berms will be bad for some of my trees down the road but that's  part of the reason i planted free seeds. i figure if i keep planting my berms as much as possible with a mostly free seeds i cant loose.

i hope this helps. best of luck ! be sure to let us all know how good it turns out!
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 77
Location: Central Maine
2
hugelkultur tiny house trees
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Such great ideas!
I found a link to the thread on brem sheds:
https://permies.com/mobile/t/38510/wofati-sheds-berm-sheds
I could get some great projects from a berm shed.  A root cellar or a tool shed first come to mind.  We could also put drinking water in a set up like this to keep it cool in the summer, in the shade far from the house. I will be building one.
Maybe I could even use this to make a bridge over the giant hugel so we can get to both sides...
I also really like this dead hedge idea.  I could build this structure for the hugel beds and keep everything right in place.  I have often added leaves to just watch them blow away. I will be trying this as well.
I also like the terrace idea.  My whole place is pretty steep.  I plan to put together a terrace out of old tires onto my beautiful south facing slope for the gardens.  The idea of the tires is that I can plant things like mint and horse radish in the tires to attempt to contain them.  Mint keeps the mosquitoes away too.  I could put some terracing in to the hugel beds and extend their grow, and my reach, quite a bit.
Thanks for the great ideas!
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 77
Location: Central Maine
2
hugelkultur tiny house trees
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Started my dead hedge.  It was an accident, really.  I was looking for firewood and the next thing I knew, there was this beautiful pile of rotting logs and branches piled up neatly.  I did my best to get some posts into my rock-clay and there you have it, startings of a dead hedge.
Thanks. It's nice when everything is held in place.
 
Michelle Bisson
Posts: 199
Location: Quebec, Canada
15
forest garden hugelkultur trees urban
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I live just north of you in Quebec Canada very close to the Maine border, so I understand your natural habitat.

A couple types of ground cover plants that can survive in a fairly shady understory are: Rhubarb and hostas.  We eat the young hosta shoots and leaves in salads or I cook them and add them to different types of meals. They can be propagated from divisions every couple of year. Plus they are beautiful to look at

You can also plant all kinds of currents and gooseberries in the understory and they are easy to propagate from cuttings.   I am planting other plants such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes anywhere I might get enough sun on our limited sunny lot because of the over story of maples trees and balsam fir.  We are slowly cutting down the balsam fir to open up other small pockets of sun.  It will be definitely a challenge to grow on a limited sunny lot, as we could easily (well lots of hard work) cut down most of the trees like the neigbours to bring in the sunshine to our lot, but we love the trees too and we want to harvest some maple syrup one day.  We do not yet live on the land as there is no house on it.
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 77
Location: Central Maine
2
hugelkultur tiny house trees
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Just before Iread this post I was talking about learning to propagate gooseberries and currants.  I bought them at a permaculture group plant sale and they are just sitting around growing slowly.  I bet if I give them some good compost they would get going and I could cut some shoots.  I have them planted in a portion of my hugel bed that is going to be my grape arbor. 
I have lots of wild brambles on the lot too.  I bet I could line those up nicely in the hugel beds.  I think I may have a surviving rhubarb plant I could move as well.
Thanks for the ideas!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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