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Holzer-style raised beds

 
                      
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I just finished Sepp's new book and learned so much.  I understand how he digs a trench and fills it with branches and/or shrubs which slowly break down and provide heat.

My question is should I be doing this on a small-scale garden?  I want to create some raised beds in my backyard and have some tree cuttings I could throw in a trench.  I live in Boise, Idaho, and it hangs out around 100 degrees in summer, so not sure I need the extra heat from decaying wood in the beds. 

Anyone else made raised beds this way?  He doesn't say how far down he digs the trench and then how tall he makes the raised bed above ground level. 

Also, the Organic Gardening chatgroup I am a member of strongly disagrees with digging and disturbing the soil to make raised beds..so many schools of thought out there.

Thanks,
Beth
 
Paula Edwards
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We're about to do this. The beds we've done so far went very well. However, I didn't do a real hill my beds are mainly flat in the end. I clipped the branches to about 20 cm pieces with the bypass cutter (the big secateurs). This was a lot of work, but I didn't want that the beds collapse of settle down too much.
Those who advocate digging do recommend two spades deep. Most people don't do that simply because it is too  much work and it might bring the subsoil up. I would dig until you reach subsoil and then hoe it with a garden mattock. If your soil is miserable like ours I would dig deeper, but pile the subsoil in a separate[font=Verdana][/font] heap and maybe us it between the layers of timber.

If you say that you have some prunings that sounds not enough to me. You really need a substantial amount. Ask all your neighbours and friends for their garden refuse. At least here most of the tree chopping guys have a  mulcher and sell the mulch so you won't be able to get this.
 
                    
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i suggest you look at the thread on the hugelkultur.

being in idaho you must have cold winters. the heat will extend the planting season.

if you have great soil maybe there is no need to do this. but if you don't or are making other alterations maybe it makes sense to do this.

i just made one and im very happy with it. haven't planted in it. but as ediblecities said its about two spades or maybe two feet deep. i then piled on about four feet of wood. on the bottom green wood and on the top some already decaying wood. i then piled the dirt back on. i might add a little more dirt to it from elsewhere, or dig a moat and use some of that.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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I have made hugel beds but not as steep or high as the ones he makes..mine have worked well but in his book he says most people make them too flat or short..that would be me.

i think if you are in a very hot area that flatter would be better..as we are NOT up on the mountains.

you have to adapt your things you do to the differences in your climate and zones.

I have very high water tables, here in most areas, so my raised beds are just above my water tables by about 18" ..not the 3 or 4' high like Sepps.

I have used aspen, ash, alder branches and trunks and chips and oak and other firewood bark and chips in different hugel beds.

I am going to attempt some taller beds when I am able to dig (hernia surgery) by burying ore wood than i did in the other beds..they also do tend to flatten.

 
                    
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hey brenda what do you mean by flat? do you mean level with the surface or the raised surface being mounded in the middle?

i wonder what the difference is. i just completed mine and it seemed pretty natural to make the center higher than the sides. it also should create more surface area, is that the reason?

and have you ever had problem with aspen sprouting, or was it always seasoned wood? i put fresh aspen on the very bottom because i was afraid it would cause problems.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I've noticed my "flat" (even with the surrounding soil surface) hugel beds collapse a lot, becoming sunken in a few months, so if one wants them even with the surrounding soil, they probably should be built slightly mounded (a foot high, maybe?)
 
                      
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Thanks for all the input everyone.  I also appreciate finding out what a "spade" is?  I never quite knew, but it is apparently 1 foot deep.  Is a spade referring to a shovel?

That talk about going so many spades in double digging, but I couldn't find what "spade" meant.

I will try making these hugelkultur beds and using some of the brush.  It will be a fun experiment!

Beth
 
Pat Black
Posts: 123
Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
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A spade is a shovel with a pointed end. A scoop or a transfer shovel is a shovel with a flat end. Spades are used to dig through roots because the point can more easily penetrate versus a blunt end.
 
                    
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NM Grower wrote:
A spade is a shovel with a pointed end. A scoop or a transfer shovel is a shovel with a flat end. Spades are used to dig through roots because the point can more easily penetrate versus a blunt end.



yea to further that same thought not only does it go through roots it just goes through ground better. you cant really get a 'square' as we call it through any sort of difficult ground. the 'round' as we call it will push things aside in the same way a knife will begin a cut by starting with a point and getting wider.

generally once the ground is broken up a square is used to put the dirt back in or whatnot, 'backfill,' because a square will hold more dirt and make the project quicker.

you can backfill with a point, but you can't dig with a square. where i come from dont let the old timers see you backfilling with a 'point,' another word we used, or you are likely to be called some choice portuguese words, including but not limited to melandro? and priggi sozo?
 
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