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Paul Wheaton's hugelkultur article thread  RSS feed

 
Kelly Green
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Location: Oklahoma Zone 7A
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Thank you, Tyler! That's exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to find out. I have mostly maple from an old tree a neighbor took down. I told him I would take everything he would let me haul off!
There are several old pecan trees on the property and I had to have one cut way back to move my house in, and still have some of that, too. There are always branches and leaves.
 
Cj Sloane
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Kelly Green wrote:Should I add 'green' to the pile or just keep putting on wood and leaves?


I don't think you need green because it's not a compost pile. I think that's why the wood doesn't lock up the N (very slow decomposition).
 
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela
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Devon Olsen wrote:
there are many factors that you may or may not want to consider when building them, but in the end i think its more important that the bed works for you and your situation than following rules of any sort


Isn't that the truth, Devon. Because I'm dealing with excess water from my property and my neighbor's, I needed a sponge TODAY and tomorrow. So I built my piles using some interior logs but lots and lots of shaved wood and chips to increase the water retaining capacity. I expect these piles to decompose more quickly than one made of larger logs but my excess water problem is quickly becoming a thing of the past And I haven't watered my tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, leeks, ad hominem in 2 years.

My newest HK was installed just behind my blueberries. When the berry bushes hit full dormancy I will "unify" them into the HK with lots of leaf-mold and mulch. Hopefully, the roots will make their way into the HK's water reserves and I can reduce my need to water them, too. I love being a "lazy" gardener. )
 
Cj Sloane
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Susanna de Villareal-Quintela wrote:
And I haven't watered my tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, leeks, ad hominem in 2 years.


Perhaps you meant ad nauseum?
 
Kelly Green
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Location: Oklahoma Zone 7A
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I went back to page one and started reading this thread again to refresh my memory. It will take me a couple of days or so to complete because my poor ole brain begins to misfire with too much information at once.
Good to know the 'green' can be omitted from the hugelkultur bed and go to the compost pile.
 
Devon Olsen
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^ i dont think he/she meant to be scrutinizing
i for one dont understand a lot of latin phrases so i could see someone who did making sure someone like me didnt say something about poop when i meant to be talking about flowers... or something like that anyway, the point is im pretty sure he/she was trying to be helpful

but 2 years is pretty damn good - how much rainfall do you get annually on average if you dont mind me asking?
 
Cj Sloane
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Not scrutinizing but ad hominum (attacking the man as opposed to the argument he makes) is on my radar because I've been learning about critical thinking/ logical fallacies. This may seem totally OT but I've found the people interested in permaculture have also delved into:
Low carb/Paleo
Peak oil
Prepping
Libertarianism
Economic issues
Trivium/Quadrivium
Logical Fallacies (Paul even did a podcast on this topic).
 
Eric Markov
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Meanwhile, back to hugelkultur.
Just converting rest of my prepping, post-oil, liberty garden to vertical hugelkultur.

Question:
Isn't wood "high-carb"







 
James Colbert
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I assume you are referring to carbon and not carbohydrates Yes, you are correct it is high "carb" but this is okay when adding large logs as there is less surface area than if you added wood chips so the microbes break down the wood at a slower pace thus reducing the need to balance nitrogen and carbon levels.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Well, this isn't an example of hugelkultur at all except in an inside out way...this morning my husband cut a standing dead oak in the yard that was beautifully hollow for ten feet up the trunk..he knows to cut anything hollow into "planters" for me. They usually last for several years...I've used them mostly for herbs but this time there are so many I might branch out...maybe panseys, strawberries, something viney...
 
Cath Johnstone
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Location: East Africa
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Bird Hatfield wrote: Would coconuts be suitable to start a Hugelkuture bed? if used with other materials


New to this site, going through all the old hugelkultur stuff.
Did anyone ever try this idea of using coconut?
I am in Tanzania, on the coast, about to try my first hugel bed using mostly cashew wood. There's plenty of coconut available so I've been wondering about using it within the beds.
The land is almost pure sand, with an extremely high pH, so I'm also trying to work out what to put on top of the wood. Any ideas, anyone? We're making compost but it will be a while till it's ready.
 
richard willey
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Im thinking sea weeds ,but dont know if they contain salt...
 
richard willey
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I made 75 ft. of hugle beds this summer ..Its a lot of work to get a six ft high hugle hauling all the material with my 4ft by 6 ft trailer , my corolla, shovel,and chain saw.. I stuck mums in it to look pretty this fall so my my wife would quit griping about me ruining the yard. put in a couple hundred garlic and transplanted some strawberries that werent doing anything in their previous location"no sun". Play pitch on tues nights and told everyone of the beds because they thought i was crazy when driving by seeing me doing all that work just for mums..they seemed very interested ,but now call me "COMPOST DICK" I put on a cover of winter rye that is doing very well..Hope i get some garlic..Im going to put in potatoes in the spring..Had lots of rain and my 6 ft beds are now 5 ft beds.I collected coffee grounds and mixed with leaves for an addition to my compost..If you set up a system with McDonalds for their coffee grounds , make sure no one sees you carrying them out ....All of a sudden evryone wants their coffee grounds and i was pushed out of my supply.GL everyone.
 
Cath Johnstone
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I'm putting seaweed (thoroughly washed to remove the salt) into the compost. Apparently it's very good. High in nitrogen. I guess it could go directly onto the bed but I'll still need something to plant into. I hope to avoid importing soil.
 
Maro Porto
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Location: South Africa. Garden Route.
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I'm not sure if this has been discussed here on a previous post.... but here is my question..
Beginning the mound , it seems that it always starts on flat ground. Why is is the ground not excavated maybe a meter deep into the soil and then packed with the trees etc. Will you not get the same result with a lower mound? But the same height in volume with it being just a meter or more maybe below ground level and a meter or so above ground?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I have excavated two feet deep and filled the hole with logs. My entire vegetable garden is made this way. Recently I planted some trees in a hugelkultur excavated about 1 foot (as deep as it was easy to go before hitting rocks) and built up a couple feet above ground level.

 
Cj Sloane
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Maro Porto wrote:Why is is the ground not excavated maybe a meter deep into the soil and then packed with the trees etc.


This works better in drier areas. In my area, lots of rain & heavy clay, roots might get water logged and kill the plants.
 
Kelly Green
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Location: Oklahoma Zone 7A
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Well. It isn't really right, but it's much better than the first attempt. Ha!
I didn't have any sod, but I put the soil I dug out back on top, then scattered a bunch of alfalfa seeds on top since I had those on hand.

I'm thinking in early spring it would be good to plant peas. Yes?

Hope the photo thing works. I tend to forget how it's done!

 
Kelly Green
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You can't really tell from the photo, but it ended up being a little over four feet high. I have to make my stuff fit in my limited space.

It sure would be fun to get out in a big space with a backhoe and front end loader and lots of wood!

In a couple of weeks five little hazelnut trees from the Arbor Day Foundation will be arriving. Gotta get their space ready!
I know they have nothing to do with Hugelkultur.....but I'm so excited I had to share that!

This also has nothing to do with Hugelkulture, but I had 142 pounds of pecans from one old native pecan. Picked them up from the cracker's yesterday. I know what I'll be doing in the evenings.
 
Eric Markov
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Kelly,

Nice photo. Do post an update in the spring and let us know how your pile does.
I've often wondered if just throwing dirt on a twig/branch pile would work well.
 
Kelly Green
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I will definitely post progress reports and photos.

Probably would work if you threw enough dirt on top for the roots to get hold in. I don't know that, though. Just guessing.
 
Marc Troyka
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Spring would be awesome for peas. Also, I wonder if I could grow hazelnuts here, I love hazelnuts :X
 
Kelly Green
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M Troyka wrote:Spring would be awesome for peas. Also, I wonder if I could grow hazelnuts here, I love hazelnuts :X



I think so. According to the Arbor Day site they grow in zones 4-9.
 
Marc Troyka
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Sweeeeeet. This is zone 8 more or less, although I don't have anywhere to put any trees atm.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Working on another little hugelkultur project, a berm to help direct run-off safely between the house, dog house, and work shop. This berm will have a variety of fruiting shrubs; buckets mark the future shrub positions:

 
Tyler Ludens
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Finished this end of the berm today. Chipper mulch on the sides to keep it from eroding:

 
Jared Gulliford
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Location: Southwest, VA
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Contoured Hugel beds with Spiral garden forefront - Hugelkultur for a home garden or urban setting. Thanks to Permies for the inspiration
hugel.JPG
[Thumbnail for hugel.JPG]
 
Tyler Ludens
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Nice!

 
paul wheaton
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sepp holzer showing how to really do hugelkultur in style - along with a LOT of examples of great success ...


 
Torrie Birkemeier
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Has anyone tried this in the desert? I am in Phoenix, AZ.

I am looking into doing a small hugulkultur but would like more resources for desert dwelling people- also some testimonies in dryer climates might help. It seems like some water might have to be applied dye to our high heat...

Any suggestions? I have a bunch of mulberry wood from a tree that was cut down and was thinking of using this to begin.

Help, anyone? :O )

 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm not in the desert but I am in an area of severe drought. I have buried wood throughout my vegetable garden, down to a depth of 2 feet. So far results have been very good. Last year I had only completed half the garden so was able to compare the buried wood areas to the areas with no buried wood. The areas with no buried wood died in spite of irrigation. The buried wood areas thrived. More details in my projects thread.



 
Julie Carney
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Ok, so we made a small hugelculture last spring in our curb strip in town........ Grew some squash and cucumber in it......
It did OK...Nothing spectacular the first year, and was about 2 ft above ground when we started...Looked kindda like a buried corpse......
Now it's sunk down ans a lot of the animal straw etc has decomposed.....,
How does one prepare this hugel for next growing season
I am thinking of just adding a bit more animal straw, lots of leaves and a bit of compost on top....... Will this work
 
Sara Harding
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Awesome video! Incidentally, when I built my first hugelkultur bed this August, I instinctively added a thin mulch and "pinned" it down. Only I grabbed the closest thing I could- goldenrod growing on the fence. Bad idea, because the chopped stalks started growing in the bed! I pulled them back out, but by that time, the brassicas and peas had already made a nice cover.
 
Eric Markov
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Julie Carney,

Noticed you also are from Silicon Valley.
This is my first year for hugel beds, they did ok to great.
The best ones also had wood chips dug into the soil, it really helps break up our clay soil.

http://lowcostvegetablegarden.blogspot.com/2012/10/wood-chip-soil-pictures.html

 
Tyler Ludens
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Julie Carney wrote:
I am thinking of just adding a bit more animal straw, lots of leaves and a bit of compost on top....... Will this work


I have continued to add more material to the top of my buried wood as it sinks. Eventually I think it will stabilize and be just like any other garden bed except it will grow super plants.

 
Kevin MacBearach
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Just a few questions for the group. I was told a month ago when I finished my first hugelbed, to plant potatoes and root vegetables only because of the nitrogen pulling effects of the wood. Recently Paul Wheaton told me to plant *every* type of crop in it as soon as possible since the plants will know when conditions are right to sprout. So I just wanted to get some clarification on that.

Also, how much leaf material should I use on the beds, either inside it, or on top of it? I have quite a bit of leaves available to me now but I don't want to create a "glee" layer inside the thing.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Personally I would put the leaves on top. Put soil between the logs, organic material on top. Just my own ideas, not an expert!

 
Marc Troyka
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I just raked up some leaves onto my beds today. I'd say a good rule of thumb is "if you can see the logs, you can add more leaves". You can also get around the nitrogen issue with a little fish meal or similar.
 
Kevin MacBearach
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Well I have loads of chicken poop to add to the bed to possibly address the nitrogen issue.

So should I just start planting/casting various vegetable seeds on it when I'm done?
 
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