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Shipping seeds across boarders can really hard. Even when Raven double-tripple checked with customs to make sure she could mail her flax seeds across the boarder as part of her kickstarter there was still problems with customs.
 
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Hi, Nicole, and thank you for your reply.  Sooooo... is there a way to get a hugel BB without living in the US or Austria? : )  Substitute the grains, perhaps?  Need to check out BBVP... BB Variances according to Paul.  While you're there, you could check on my startup photo question, too.  Thanks for your help, Nicole.
 
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Hi! Is what's shown in this (albeit, crude) drawing a valid design for the BB?

My plan is to dig down from grade a few feet, and build the hugel atop that. The top of the hugel will be about five and a half feet above the existing grade.
IMG_20200920_170621-2.jpg
Hugel design sketch
Hugel design sketch
Staff note (Ash Jackson) :

Verdict from Paul: No. The top of the Hugel must be 7' above the grade around it.

 
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Well this is really fun because hugelkultur is what brought me to permies in the first place about 8 years ago.    Since then I've made four hugels, 8 feet by 4 feet by 6 feet, give or take.  They're amazing from a water retention/release standpoint alone.  I've made three undercover hugels in my current yard and I really didn't water much, and I have tomatoes the size of a small child.  

For that very reason, this is probably the least satisfying hugel I've ever made, and it's because all of the ideal wood within 500 feet went into the previous three hugels mere months ago.  All of the ideal mulch, too. Compost, etc.  I had to dig reallllllly deep and be creative to get enough biomass. Nevertheless, this is a great location for a hugel and I'm excited to see what it can do as I continue to amend it with mulch and compost.  


Two pics of the site before the work is started with the intended location marked out.

It makes me laugh now but I was going for a 12 foot hugel. I was going to drag in a huge fallen tree.  But it's 600 feet away so.... gonna have to settle for the 6 foot.   Anyway, here's the measurement of the area to provide a sense of scale as we go along.




And the front/side view:




Three pics of three different stages of construction - showing the contents of the hugelkultur

I began with the digging to get the fill dirt and height requirement, because I don't have any heavy equipment available.  I like digging.  



The next step was to lay the base wood down.  You can sort of tell that I had that 12 foot in mind, but there just wasn't enough wood.  So the back five feet became a brush pile with a hefty wood base. :)




I proceeded to layer dirt and brush on top until I got enough mass to support the mulch.  For example:



At this point, to verify sizes moving forward, I made a stick which is a bit over 7 feet:



Height check!  This is before the rest of the brush and mulch and planting dirt had been added:



Here was my helper during this process:



White kitty often accompanies me on my outdoor adventures.  She was skittish for 3 years and ran into the woods but now I'm her bestie.


Pics of all the stuff about to be planted

The sunchokes were the only thing I couldn't procure locally:



Here's my ten nitrogen fixers:



Five bedraggled comfrey plants that I got from a local gardener.  She assures me that the roots are what matters, and that comfrey always finds a way.



I also used the leftover mix from my seed bombs:



BB20 for the win:




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

Well the short answer is I used every scrap of wood, brush, and mulch I could ethically source from within 500 feet.  I liberated some aging firewood piles in a right of way, cut down a couple nuisance trees, collected several leftover tree trunks that I had off to the side.  Then I began pruning, harvesting, raking every limb I could find.  I limbed a couple pine trees.  Walking the block and taking downed limbs.  Raiding yard waste bins.   Just really spent a couple months gathering any wood I could find.  







The mulch was even harder.  I have lots of pine trees so I collected the fallen needles.  But I didn't want to take too much.  I had lots of mulch for my garden, but I didn't want to take too much.  I had a few large piles of wet sawdust and I used all of that.  But in the end, I had to make my own.  Over the course of several days I went out to the field with a scythe and made bales of hay.  (Don't worry I used it properly. :)) That's the bulk of the mulch I used. About 500 square feet of scythed tall grass.



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


Here's the shots taken from the same as the first two, with the 7 foot stick.  The final dimensions are 6.5 feet x 9 feet x 7 feet high.  I only dug 2 feet deep though, so if needed I can dig down another foot. :)






Technical requirements aside, this will be a solid hugel in about 2 years.  It needs to break down, I need to put better wood into it as I get more, and the dirt is red clay, which is not my preference.  I guess I could always add some tomatoes that are the size of a small child and see what happens.
 
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I think it needs a bit more documentation. Can you clarify the dozen species that were planted? It also needs a pic showing the 7 foot height.
 
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It would also be wonderful if you had a picture just before you put the mulch on.  As is, it looks like a brush pile with no soil

Incidentally, that's a good detail to add to the "requirements"...  wanders off to update the BB.......
 
Rob Lineberger
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Mike Barkley wrote:I think it needs a bit more documentation. Can you clarify the dozen species that were planted? It also needs a pic showing the 7 foot height.



Hey Mike, here are the 18 species:

Sepp Holzer grain
comfrey
sunchoke
Oregon giant pea
Big Red Ripper southern pea
Green Arrow shelling pea
Bettersnap Southern pea
Red bean
Pinto Bean
black-eyed pea
Navy bean
sweet snap pea
Robert Hazelwood bean
Tall Thistle
Acorn Squash
borage
snapdragon
habanero

I could get you the height picture but, see below.

Mike Haasl wrote:It would also be wonderful if you had a picture just before you put the mulch on.  As is, it looks like a brush pile with no soil :)

Incidentally, that's a good detail to add to the "requirements"...  wanders off to update the BB.......



LOL I can definitely see where you are coming from.  It's because I was trying to fill out the sides to get it to be consistently 7 feet wide, like this:



But in looking back through the certified BBs in this thread I see it doesn't have to be consistently 7 feet wide all the way up and can look like this:



That's great news because it gives me almost 300% more material to work with, practically speaking.  So I can rework it and get a more solid picture for you.  There is a solid foundation under there, promise. But I'm not happy with this as you already know, and now I have the breathing room to make it better.

I am concerned about what will happen to the things I have planted.  Most of it is just seeds, but I don't want to lose the Sepp Holzer grains, comfrey, or sunchokes.  

 
Mike Haasl
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Yeah, the shape they end up being is a pyramid.  Can you just take the mulch off of it and take a picture?  Or does it need more work than that?  Maybe just adjusting it a bit will only dislodge/bury/remove a small amount of the seeds/tubers?
 
Rob Lineberger
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Mike Haasl wrote:Yeah, the shape they end up being is a pyramid.  Can you just take the mulch off of it and take a picture?  Or does it need more work than that?  Maybe just adjusting it a bit will only dislodge/bury/remove a small amount of the seeds/tubers?



Yes, I could dislodge the now-superfluous vertical mulch wings and get a picture and probably get this BB.  But I want to do it better. The hugel just doesn't feel right. Trying to make it 12 feet, then switching to 6 feet, then trying to make it box-shaped... It's all wrong. Now I've seen a better way and it feels right.  So I'll happily go back and rearrange things to fit this new vision and it will be glorious.

That's why I dig the BBs because of the accountability and practiced eyes looking over things.  I can only read and think so much but doing it and posting it makes it real.  It's like the mallet.  I saw what you said about round being better, but,  dude the square hole with the wedge hammered in.... I don't think you could remove it without an air chisel.  :)

 
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