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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 straw badge in Gardening.

If you are unfamiliar with what hugelkultur is then it would be best for you to work on finishing the hugelkultur BB for the sand badge in gardening.

As a refresher here is a video that covers the basics of building a hugelkultur bed.

Tip: When working on this BB think about the other requirements for the straw badge for Gardening and see if you can meet multiple requirements at once. For example, you need to grow, harvest and preserve 100,000 calories from at least 12 species. The hugelkultur bed can be the foundation for the other BBs required for the straw badge.

If your property lacks wood for the hugelkultur bed consider planting trees like maples, mulberries, and linden that grow quickly and coppice easily. Plant a bunch and let them grow for 3 to 5 years then coppice them. If you plant enough at once this can provide all the wood you need. Then as they regrow you can harvest on a rotation for additional hugelkultur beds. Some trees like willows will sprout from green wood if buried so be careful if you use green wood in your hugelkultur bed. Older rotten wood is ideal but fresh wood can be inoculated with the fungi of your choice and then used once it has aged.

  - You may use an excavator or other heavy equipment if needed.  
  - digging 3' deep trenches on either side of a spot, piling wood there and covering with the trench dirt is one way to satisfy this BB.  

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
  - Final hugelkultur bed must be 7 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and 12 feet long.
  - Plant using polycultures only.
  - All material must be sourced from no more than 500 feet away.
  - mulch it with at least 4 different kinds of mulch
  - seed/plant at least a dozen different species
  - mostly nitrogen fixers (>75% by volume)
  - at least three comfrey plants
  - at least three sunchokes
  - at least 40 sepp holzer grains (currently available as a prize for anyone who reaches BB20)

How to Certify That Your BB is Completed
 - Two pics of the site before the work is started with the intended location marked out.
       o probably marked with wood laid on the ground that will soon be buried!
 - Three pics of three different stages of construction - showing the contents of the hugelkultur
 - One pic when the hugelkultur is completely built but not planted or mulched showing it is 7 feet tall
 - Pics of all the stuff about to be planted
 - A paragraph or two of what wood was used and where it came from, what was planted, what mulches were applied and anything else interesting
 - Two pics of the site after the work is complete from the same two locations as the beginning pictures.
       o include some people or something in the pics so we can gauge that the size is probably correct  

Posts: 8850
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I built a hugelkultur at Allerton Abbey!  For the BB20 event, Opalyn, Penny, Beau and I made our hugels in a row.  Mine was on the left.  We marked them out with white stakes.  In one or two pictures there are some stakes further to the left of my hugel which were optimistic but eventually abandoned.

The contents were clay-ey soil, punky logs laying around and cut off pieces from the junk pole fence.  The wood was all conifer and came from within 100' of the hugel.  The mulches were mullein, trimmed up lower tree boughs, old hay bales and sawdust.  

The seeds are:
Austrian winter peas (n)
alfalfa (n)
black locust (n)
tendril peas (n)
Sepp Holzer grain
vetch (n)
golden clover (n)
yellow blossom sweet clover (n)
comfrey.  The comfrey is the stick-like thing you can see sticking out of the bucket and I got 5 pieces from it.

We did the trench on both sides approach using the excavator.  The tape measure in the end is set to 7' and held up with a shovel.  One of my final photos from the same spot as the before picture was slightly blocked by the excavator so I included another final picture from a nearby spot.  FYI the stump that is at the edge of my hugel is about at the midpoint of the 12 feet.  The white stakes sometimes had to be removed before they disappeared but in the final picture you can see my two stakes.
My 12' marked with white stakes. Beau's 6' stretch goes to the uppermost stake in front of Opalyn
My 12' marked with white stakes. Beau's 6' stretch goes to the uppermost stake in front of Opalyn
Second view (backed up against fence). With Beau's butt.
Second view (backed up against fence). With Beau's butt.
First wood laid down
First wood laid down
Covered with first scoop from back side of hugel
Covered with first scoop from back side of hugel
More wood
More wood
Naked hugel with 7' tape
Naked hugel with 7' tape
Same 7' tape from front side (stump is still hanging in and might make for a good step some day)
Same 7' tape from front side (stump is still hanging in and might make for a good step some day)
More clover!!!!!
More clover!!!!!
Seeds about to be planted (comfrey root sticking out of bucket)
Seeds about to be planted (comfrey root sticking out of bucket)
Sunchokes were in bucket but hard to see
Sunchokes were in bucket but hard to see
All done, view from first vantage point :)
All done, view from first vantage point :)
Alternate viewpoint #1
Alternate viewpoint #1
Viewpoint #2 (boundary stake between Beau and me is near upper left side of picture)
Viewpoint #2 (boundary stake between Beau and me is near upper left side of picture)
Staff note (Mike Barkley) :

I certify this BB is complete.

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Location: South Central Kansas
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Hugeling in a blizzard! There's nothing quite like tucking in seeds on a freshly mounded bed for a wee winter snooze. Hope I get to see what this'll do out at Allerton Abbey.

My 12' is conjoined with Mike's 24'. It is demarcated in most the pics by stakes or a change in mulch appearance. Final size is a couple feet larger than the requirements in each dimension to accomodate the curve and satisfy the demands of the site.

Dug and built with the excavator.
Seeds comprised of (in order of greatest volume, Nitrogen fixers comprising well over 80% of seed count):

Yellow Blossom Clover (n)
Crimson Clover (n)
Golden Clover (n)
Giant Clover (n)
Chickling Vetch
Lamb's Quarters (mulch combo)
Mullein (mulch combo)
Holzer Grain (exactly 40 seeds)
Austrian Winter Peas (n)
Black Locust (n)

3 Sunchoke tubers
3 Comfrey root cuttings

Conifer branches from site logging and trimming
Straw from the Abbey
Lamb's Quarters

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seeds and mulch
seeds and mulch
finished building, ready for seed and mulch
finished building, ready for seed and mulch
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Staff note (jordan barton) :

I hereby certify this badge bit complete!

Staff note (Mike Barkley) :

I further certify this as an awesome hugel. Y'all did a great job!!! There's a lot of future food waiting to happen there.

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