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This is a badge bit (BB) that is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the sand badge in earthworks.

For this BB, you will be learning how to increase the height of a berm.  Berms are great at blocking wind, blocking views and creating microclimates.  We aim for berms that are quite a bit taller than they are wide.  Maintaining steep sides is a challenge.  Steep sides like this are sometimes described as having a high "angle of repose".  To keep the soil from obeying the forces of gravity, adding sticks/logs/fibers into the berm will help hold things together until plant roots can do it for you.  If a berm has settled and the neighbors can see into your hot tub, here's your chance to fix it.



The minimum requirement is to make a berm 2 feet taller for at least 3 feet long.  Some ideas to accomplish this:
       o cut grasses/plants to lay between layers of soil to mitigate angle of repose
       o add wood branches lashed with natural fibers over the top to add structural integrity
       o add a half barrel planter to the top
       o add interesting wood planters or other structures that might later be buried
       o keep bits of wood from sticking out in a way that wicks moisture out of the berm
       o add scaffolding (a BB from another badge ---  two-fer!)
       o bring soil, organic matter, sticks, etc. from near the base to add to the top
       o make a wood berm extension "skeleton" and add soil and grasses to the skeleton

Seed immediately!

To get certified for this BB, post:

 - picture of the berm before
 - picture of the berm after
 - picture of seeds being planted
 - list the seed species planted

COMMENTS:
 
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
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Pie and apples for mike!

we need some sort of image.  

I am thinking we might be able to do some brainstorming and add four more things to the "how" list.   Ideas?
 
master steward
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Would a pair of 2' high junk pole fences along the top with dirt piled between them work?  Or would the junkpole posts be considered to wick moisture out of the berm?

How about a log brace at each end of the berm going from the ground to the top of the berm.  Then set a large log on top of the two braces and on the edge of the top of the berm.  Or in other words, a 1' diameter log laying precariously along the edge of the top of the berm but kept in place with two braces to the ground.  Do the same on the other side of the berm and then fill between the logs with soil.  The braces could become ladders or scaffolds in the future.

Maybe some MS Paint drawings would have to suffice if we can't find any photos.
 
paul wheaton
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Mike Jay wrote:Would a pair of 2' high junk pole fences along the top with dirt piled between them work?  Or would the junkpole posts be considered to wick moisture out of the berm?



that would introduce the wicking problem.

How about a log brace at each end of the berm going from the ground to the top of the berm.  Then set a large log on top of the two braces and on the edge of the top of the berm.  Or in other words, a 1' diameter log laying precariously along the edge of the top of the berm but kept in place with two braces to the ground.  Do the same on the other side of the berm and then fill between the logs with soil.  The braces could become ladders or scaffolds in the future.



That sounds like the scaffolding thing!


Maybe some MS Paint drawings would have to suffice if we can't find any photos.



Sure!


It would be great to have a drawing showing the layers of grasses and soil to make things taller.  

It would also be great to show a sort of "X" mount of two sticks joined  and sitting on top of the berm holding lots of sticks and soil.


 
Mike Haasl
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Well, here are some pictures.  Had to build one to procure the photos  I built this like the base of a log cabin.  Both ends of the logs are out of the berm so they shouldn't wick.  I put a chunk of log in the middle and covered it all with dirt.  I stuck some uprooted grass from another project in the dirt so it should start growing and rooting the assembly together quickly.  I planted some Sepp Holzer grain and alfalfa on the top and two squash seeds in the south side (not the top, lower down).  I figured it would be wetter (lower in the dirt pile) and sunnier for the squash.  I covered it all up with some spoiled straw.  The length of the long sideways logs is 4' and it's >24" tall.
DSC05103.JPG
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Beginning with the two end logs to show the location
DSC05104.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSC05104.JPG]
Dirt and log crib in place
DSC05110.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSC05110.JPG]
Planting seeds
DSC05111.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSC05111.JPG]
Mulching
Staff note (paul wheaton) :

I certify that this BB is complete!

 
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Location: PNW zone 8b
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I do not have a berm to improve, so would building a berm count towards this BB?  If so, then how do a berm and a 7 foot hugelkutur differ?
 
Mike Haasl
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Hmm, I don't know.  I think the idea is to make a berm higher.  So if you built a berm, and then made it higher, you'd be all set.  I think the main differences are that a hugel has lots of wood in it and it's aimed at growing food.  A berm is a little less food oriented and maybe more for wind/view/sound blocking.  But I'm not 100% sure.
 
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