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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 Gardening.

Hugelkultur is basically gardening on buried wood.  It is laid out very well in this Richsoil Article.

To complete this BB, the minimum requirements are:
  - 7 feet tall, 7 feet wide, 6 feet long
  - mulch it with at least 4 different kinds of mulch
  - seed/plant at least a dozen different species
  - mostly nitrogen fixers
  - at least three comfrey plants
  - at least three sunchokes
  - at least a dozen sepp holzer grains

To document your completion of the BB, provide the following:
  - 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
  - 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


Clarifications:
  - You may use an excavator or other heavy equipment if needed.  (opportunity for a two-fer with the earthworks badge)
  - if you dig 3 foot deep trenches on either side of the hugelkultur spot, you can use that soil, mixed with wood, to make a hugelkultur bed that is 4 feet above grade but 7 feet tall relative to the bottom of the trench. That is one way to satisfy this BB.  


COMMENTS:
 
gardener & author
Posts: 2020
Location: Manitoba, Canada
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One of Paul's videos about hugelkultur:

 
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
84
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I know the reasons to go big, but I think a seven foot minimum is a bit excessive. I have built thousands of square feet of hugel, and in a place with almost no summer rain for 4-6months. I think the tallest is 7ft from the bottom of the path that the base soil came from, but that was with an excavator. Going taller than 4-5ft almost requires heavy equipment to be safe and efficient. The work it takes to keep going up beyond 4-5ft with wheel barrows and people with hand tools is not entirely safe (I work with high school and college interns as well as little kids and retiree volunteers that I feel obligated to keep safe), and that same work could get 2-3x as much volume of shorter hugels in. If you have the space, I’d go out before going up above 5ft in this climate. I have seen my 4ft hugels go unwatered all summer (though it’s not very hot here) and have happy trees and perennials. I do have humus catchment basins filled with woody debris and chips for paths around them, so that adds 1.5ft to their effective height, but still I think a 7ft minimum is not necessary, discourages people from trying hugelkulture, and can be unsafe if the job is done by hand without careful staging. I love the badge bit idea and thank all those working on the PEP programs, this is just my two cents on an aspect of permaculture I have spent several years working on and observing.
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master steward
Posts: 28642
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
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Point noted.  

I wish to stick with the 7 foot tall stuff for reasons.  

To make it a bit simpler, I wrote this thread describing making a hugelkultur that is physically just 3 or 4 feet high, but using material right next to the hugelkultur so that  by the time you are done, there is a path next to the hugelkultur that is 3 or 4 feet deep - thus making it appear to be a total of 7 feet.



 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
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The points you bring up, and a hundred other reasons, makes me think I need to finish and publish my big book of hugelkultur.
 
Ben Zumeta
pollinator
Posts: 513
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
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I agree that’s the best way to do a big hugel, and that your book would be a great resource for the world, especially the American west that could use wildfire fuel reduction for source material. Of course this is permaculture according to Paul, so its your call to make, but I was mainly thinking of how much harder doing this all by hand gets when you go above the wheelbarrows maximum dumping height (about 4ft above grade). That and teenage boys I often teach or supervise who love to see how high they can jump from until they break a leg.
 
Posts: 27
Location: Greene County, NY Zone 5b
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Hey, excited to attempt this badge bit. Had a question about the Sepp Holzer Grain requirement. Do you mean the grains from this thread? And if you do, do you mean only 12 individual grains planted? Also if you do, where could I find some? Because I have been looking, haha. Or can I attempt to grow regular winter rye, or perennial rye in the way he does, by cutting it before it develops a seed head and harvesting it the next year?

Thanks a lot, sorry if I am being dense.
Jeff
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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did you read the last page of the thread you linked to?
 
Jeffrey Carlson
Posts: 27
Location: Greene County, NY Zone 5b
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Ha, guess I was just assuming B&T wouldn't work because US customs would ruin things, and Jason Padvorac didn't have anymore. But I never actually checked. I will double check with both. Thanks a lot.
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
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We have some here.  Unfortunately, everybody here is quite tapped out and cannot send some.  We are trying to get more people here so that somebody could make something like that into a business.
 
The fastest and most reliable components of any system are those that are not there. Tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
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