Keith Chaloux wrote:I love this idea. You will be so happy when you see all the birds enjoying your native hedgerow. My old boss had a native hedgerow which was always buzzing with wildlife activity. If I recall he had lots of salmonberry with many sturdy vertical canes that formed a very effective barrier, and has very early flowers and edible berries.
Also if this matters to you, ask your nursery about the genetic purity of their Nootka rose because my understanding is that it easily hybridizes with invasive rose species and creates weedy offspring. Good luck please post follow up pictures :)
Chris Kott wrote:I love the addition of the decomposing woody materials and the mosses. Those will definitely provide any fungi that might be lacking in your hugelbeet, even if the mosses don't take. And maybe they will take.
Lovely pictures. Which direction is north in the photo?
Nicole Alderman wrote:Tee-hee, I can't help but notice that the aerial view of your hugel make it look like a giant banana slug!
Pollinators—such as hummingbirds and native bees—come to Cascara’s late spring flowers. Birds—including band-tailed pigeons, robins, tanagers and grosbeaks—as well as mammals such as raccoons and coyotes, are attracted to the pea-sized fruit. Birds like bushtits, kinglets, warblers and chickadees forage on insects found on leaves, twigs and bark. Cascara is a host plant for the caterpillars of gray hairstreak and swallowtail butterflies, which feed on its leaves. Mule deer and other mammals may use it as browse.
Nicole Alderman wrote:Just thought I'd mention, in case you didn't know, that bees seem to LOVE Cascara. Every year, for probably a month, my husband is sure there's a beehive in ours, because of all the buzzing sounds emanating from it. Then, I was walking down the road, chatting with my neighbor, and he commented that he thought there was a hive nearby. I looked up and, sure enough, there was another cascara. That's when I was pretty sure that it was the cascara being in bloom that was bringing crazy amounts of buzzing friends...
A bit of poor planning on my part - I planted a lot of shade loving plants on the north side of the bed without taking into account that until the sun loving plants grew bigger there would not be a lot of shade even on the north side of the bed. So far the shade loving plants are dealing with this okay but seem stressed. Luckily the bed is staying very moist despite some this month being so dry and hot compared to normal.
Nicole Alderman wrote:I did that, too! My plants really started struggling, so I took conifer branches and stuck them upright in the hugel to shade the plants. This works much better with something that doesn't lose it's needles really quickly (i.e. western hemlock branches STINK at this). Another thing I did was make little wattle fences just south of each plant that needed it, to shade them during the hottest/sunniest part of the day. This really saved my plants!
Brian Rodgers wrote:Wow! That's fantastic. It is so full of life. Thank you for posting this.
Sonja Draven wrote:Wow is right! Very inspirational. I appreciate the "before and after" pics and knowing you'll do another update... and another and another...
Daron Williams wrote:
You are welcomed! I'm really enjoying watching the new hugel bed change and grow over time. A couple of the large shrubs died so I'm going to replace them in the fall/winter.
Next step is to create a buffer at the base of the hugel bed to keep the grass out. That should also help the cascara trees do better.
Brian Rodgers wrote:Looking forward to seeing how a buffer is created.
I am trying to get healed from an autoimmune disease and scoliosis, which is working, but this disease has me running about 50% efficiency. I do most of my projects by hand and will start by designing a Hugelbed where our garden used to be. I need to plan more in our yard as the weather gets more erratic and unpredictable. I'm considering doing my hugel on a northern slope here at the edge of the forest in NM. I'm thinking I can build a rock wall on the low side to simulate the trench of a hugel bed. This year our climate is utter drought, combined with New Mexico winds, evaporation is my #1 concern. Has this been done? Perhaps because of the winds bedrock is inches below the surface, hence not wanting to dig much, grins.
Daron Williams wrote:
The buffer will just be cardboard on the grass with wood chips placed on top. I will add small logs to create a physical barrier on one side to help people know where not to walk. The cardboard and wood chips will kill the grass and it will all breakdown into nice soil. I have had good luck using cardboard and wood chips to get rid of grass - though it is best to remove any tape from the cardboard first.
I see, thank you. We finally got some rain yahoo! For a bit there I thought we were doomed to burn up. Are you chipping your own wood? What type of wood works well? Do we want a pine like Ponderosa which rots faster than a Cedar?
Some people have had issues with hugel beds drying out in hot dry areas - the same thing would happen with any raised bed. If the hugel bed is partly below ground level then it will stay more moist but as you said you area does not have much soil before the bedrock so that does not really help. Adding rocks along the sides could help but I would make them thick enough that they would actually buffer the hugel bed against the winds.
In the area where I would like to do the Hugel bed the topsoil is thin, as the north facing 8° slope drops down toward pasture the soil gets deep. Perhaps an alternative might be, to building a rock wall could be adding some dirt from the bottom of a dry-wash pond further down the hill and building up the lower edge of the Hugel?
There is a concept called an air well that could be combined with a hugel bed by using rocks on the sunny side. You can read about air wells here: https://permies.com/t/airwell The most basic type of air well is a pile of rocks. The outer rocks that are exposed to the sun get hot while the inner rocks stay cool. When the hot air blows through the rock pile and hits the cool rocks the air cools and some of the water in it condenses out - the larger the pile of rocks the more condensation you will get. The rock pile needs to have room for air to move through it so a pile of gravel or small rocks would not work as well as larger more jagged rocks. The larger rocks would have more air pockets between them resulting in more opportunity for the air to move through and the water to condense out.
Wow the Air well concept is incredible, I will keep reading on that, thank you for sharing that.
I'm thinking about adding rock piles that are at least 3 layers thick around my property for critter habitat and also to serve as little air wells.
You've given me a lot of food for thought here. My north facing slope doesn't seem to be ideal for an air well. The other side of our house has the south facing slope, also about 8° so perhaps I can work something up there for an air well. Thank you so much!
Hope that helps!
Julia Winter wrote:Your hugel beds are beautiful!
One edible plant that does well on the top of a hugelbed (which can be dry) is the daylily. You can eat daylilies, I particularly like the petals.
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