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Here we go... about to attempt my first hugel!  RSS feed

 
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EDIT: So. My plans were sidelined by me catching mono, I've finally recovered enough to start doing stuff. But I have a big question/concern. The place where I want to build, is super waterlogged. It's heavy clay soil and it drains poorly. Would building a hugel here contribute to the swampiness of the area? Originally I thought it would help direct water underground, but maybe that was just a silly assumption.

Apparently the emerald ash borers think I need to make a hugelkultur bed. I'm planning on building it about ten feet out from the tree line by the woods, where the woods are to the east and give morning shade and there's afternoon sun. I'm hoping the top of the bed will be a good place to start persimmon(s) since I have only one healthy persimmon tree and it is lonely. I'm super excited that this giant pile of wood includes both solid chunks and many stages of decay, I think I will put the more solid stuff near the bottom and the more decayed matter towards the top, or is it better to maybe mix it up?



The good persimmon's photo came out all blurry and bad, here's its sad ugly girlfriend persimmon that was stunted by uncomposted chicken poop, bad drainage and the lawnmower. Hopefully a new persimmon family will take root on the finished hugel. For reference the healthy tree is way taller than I am, they were planted at the same time.

 
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I thought that the generally perceived wisdom was not to plant trees on Hugels - as the hugel decomposes and collapses it will cause an unsteady ground for the tree which is then likely to topple. Maybe you have thought of a way around this however, I would not like to see your project fail.
 
Sarah Koster
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Abbey Battle wrote:I thought that the generally perceived wisdom was not to plant trees on Hugels - as the hugel decomposes and collapses it will cause an unsteady ground for the tree which is then likely to topple. Maybe you have thought of a way around this however, I would not like to see your project fail.



Thanks... I lack general wisdom about hugels! It never occurred to me that this would be a problem for the trees... I feel like I read a lot about it and yet have no idea what I'm doing.
 
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I thought that the generally perceived wisdom was not to plant trees on Hugels - as the hugel decomposes and collapses it will cause an unsteady ground for the tree which is then likely to topple.

  That is my understanding as well.  I think it's best to put the tree on the ground near the base of the hugel, and the tree will seek nutrients and water from underneath it, without destabilization. 

  I think I will put the more solid stuff near the bottom and the more decayed matter towards the top, or is it better to maybe mix it up?

  I think that your method will work fine.  If your plant roots are going to be anywhere near the wood then you definitely want the more decomposed stuff on that upper/outer level, and you would then also want to ensure that your upper layer had a good dose of nitrogen-rich material. Otherwise, the plants on the mound will potentially be lacking nitrogen access. Mixing it up, though, might be better, in some cases, as the fungi in the rotten wood will inoculate the other wood. Remember to mix soil and nitrogen-rich material (like manure) with your wood rather than just heaped on top of the piled-up wood, wet the wood and dampen the soil/nitrogen stuff, and try to eliminate air pockets by stuffing any places with dirt/soil/compost/et cetera.    
 
Roberto pokachinni
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https://permies.com/t/1080/17/Paul-Wheaton-hugelkultur-article-thread ; If you go to page 28 of this link of Paul Wheaton's Hugulkultur article, and scan to drawing that he did, it shows not to do the heap of wood.
 
Sarah Koster
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Roberto pokachinni wrote:https://permies.com/t/1080/17/Paul-Wheaton-hugelkultur-article-thread  If you go to page 28 of this link of Paul Wheaton's Hugulkultur article, and scan to drawing that he did, it shows not to do the heap of wood.



I found the picture.... rotty wood + dirt lasagna!

I'm super short so maybe I'll dig a little trench and reserve the dirt so I can make it tall enough without using a cherry picker, and have dirt to incorporate.
 
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