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Paul Wheaton's hugelkultur article thread

TCLynx Hatfield


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
entrailer wrote:
Paul and THC,

Thanks for your replies.

Yep, you are right it def does depend.
But what I am looking for is tolerances, minimums.
I am temperate UK, northern.
Be good to get your input generally before I tell you my intentions. Because I don't want to look at this as an individual case, rather one end of the scale; when planting trees/perens on to unrotted biomass.

As for your pics online. I've viewed these many times. However what would be great is if you have any pics of this bed in production over the years since it was done that would be great also.

Thanks again,
Niels


Tolerances/minimums are gonna be kind vague.
Ya need enough soil for the plants to take root in or if transplanting, enough to transplant into successfully.  Granted, I haven't done this for very long and in my wet sub tropical climate, I think I could put a peat pot on top of a fresh log and plants some things successfully.  Anyway, the "enough dirt for planting" would be the minimum.  I understand that many people into hugelkultur would mound the dirt up way high like a person tall berm.  That is more dirt moving that I was up to doing.

As to the idea of building a hugelkultur bed around a new tree, one would need to make sure not to suffocate the trees surface roots by burying them too deep.  Also, many trees don't like having their planting depth changed too much so this should be taken into account.


TCLynx
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rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
BUckwneatpie talks of their being no proof that huglekulture would work , i read about it before i was reading these forums though i have only once found somthing on it and it was reported as a traditional german gardening practice. THe proof for a german must be his grandfather did it as did his great grandfather and it works, just as bread works if you follow the recipe though you may not know why.
The huglekulture bed i read of buried the trunks low enough and talked of building up a high enough bank on top to put off all but the most energetic gardeners from trying to make one.
 
This last week i have been eating turnips i planted of the smal huglkulture bed I made at the end otf last summer about a metre square. THese turnips are the first vegetable grown by me i have eaten and delicouse. I have had fruit of muy own but not veggies. I ate them raw like apples, they were deliciouse. 
    The turnips i grew don't seem to have any roots to speak of apart from the bulbuouse bit so there growth can't be attributed to the huglekulture bed their roots did not even get past the layer of mulch i put on the bed, they  must grow from thin air, their leaves must be the main absorbers of nourishment as they put out a lot of leaf and nearly no root except the tuber. The leaves are certainly wrinkly and a bit hairy I would say they seem like really potent leaves capable of anything creating a small apple in two mounths for example. wonder what the flowers like if you let them flower.
      Making a huglelkulture bed meant that i i had a placae to plant vegetables.
  the other seeds i put in that maybe are at the moment busier puting down a root than growing leaves at any rate they don't have much leaf yet will give better testimony to the efficienty of huglkulture.
  I will have to get more efficient if i am to produce enough to eat for more than a day or two i felt really satisfied with the great bunch of turnips growing but thinking more sensibly about it there were only about ten turnips and some coming on .
  The leaves were good i ate them as salad and alsomixed with lentels as cooked greens i heard they are full of folic acid so its healthy.
 
      There is a dish from galicia in the north of spain called "pote gallego"gallician patoage a sort of ministrone that gets its strange taste from turnip tops. it is made mwith a half poound of white beans a pound of potatoes and about half a poound of turnip tops i suppose and ham bones and chorizo if you have it spainish parika salami. an dany onther bits of meat you have around to chuck in these poor dishes come from times weren there was not much meat and that was eaten by the father a pit of bacon to give the potage flavour. The rich would put in a good chunk of beef and ham and poprk and chicken. YOu cook the meat and the beans first abdding the potatoes and turnip tops in the last half hour modern beans cook pretty fast the old fashioned three to four hours are no longer necessary. QUevedo a good spanish writer on the miseries of poverty fights and grueling competitivity and general horrors talks of a inn htat has a ham bone they dip into each soup for ten minutes . agri rose macaskie.
Bird Hatfield


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
Would coconuts be suitable to start a Hugelkuture bed? if used with other materials


Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new
    -ALBERT EINSTEIN-
TCLynx Hatfield


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
Are you talking whole coconuts, coco coir or something in between?  Coir is definitely a well known soil amendment that has water holding capacity as well as soil loosening properties.  I expect coir or coconut fiber would make great additions to planting beds though I don't know if the result would exactly be hugelkulture but I expect the result would still be far better than simply making a pile of tropical sand to plant in.

I'm not sure if simply throwing whole coconuts into the bottom of a grow bed would be very effective unless you were trying to plant more coconut palms?
Bird Hatfield


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
these are storm damaged split, will be eating/drinking the whole ones
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Fukuoka liked to bury bamboo because of the air spaces in it and its resistance to rot.

I think a jumble of split coconuts would have similar benefits.

What do you suppose would eat the nutmeats? Worms, or something less benign?


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Bird Hatfield


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia

i was thinking along the lines of placeing the coconuts with the opened end up with the hope they would fill with water for holding until they start breakdown, purpose is they will remain full during my wet season and be a water resivoir for planting out in dry season?
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Placing a branch in each opening might help them to fill, if the openings are narrow.

Some plants will love all those pools of standing water at various heights. Other types of root might drown on occasion. Maybe flood-tolerant plants would do better in beds arranged that way than ones that need very good drainage?

The husks alone will hold a lot of water.
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    2
Would making hugelkultur beds out of cedar rails make for a bed thats too acidic for most vegetables do you think? I have thousands of feet worth of half rotting cedar rails on the land here and am wondering what to do with them.

I know that Toby Hemenway cites the method of using cedar logs in a similar fashion in order to make beds for blueberries so am I right in assuming that this means the bed will be too acidic for most other plants? Maybe wood ash sprinkled on top is the remedy for that?


http://www.greenshireecofarms.com
Zone 5a in Central Ontario, Canada
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
There might be a mismatch between wood ash and cedar, in that one is very sudden, and the other more gradual. If they were balanced on a time-averaged basis, you might end up with a too-alkaline bed that gradually becomes too acidic.

Maybe something that releases more gradually? Oyster shells, perhaps?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I think I would choose to not use cedar for beds.  Even as a border.  Cedar is loaded to the gills with allelopathic stuff (stuff that makes other plants sad).  I think I remember that there are at least four specific plant toxins above and beyond the acidifying nature of cedar.

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Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    2
Thats a hell of a lot of oyster shells. Maybe using lake weeds as a layer on top of the cedar could work. The lake weeds here are teeming with zebra mussels, so I'm guessing the mussels could be a substitute for the oyster shells. Or were you just making a joke and I fell for it?
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
WHere do you all get your oyster shells form it esems a pretty millionaire thing to use though i suppose restaurants throw away the shells?
TCLynx Hatfield


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
While I don't think I would go out and specifically buy cedar for use in planting, if you have a bunch that you can find no other use for, it might be worth a trial  (However I expect you can find a better use for those fence rails, even if it is more like garden posts and stakes around the kitchen garden.)

See, people tend to warn about stuff like cedar or cypress being bad for plants.  However there is a huge number of people who have used cypress mulch as growing media for hydroponics and done great with it.  Now I know the situation is gonna be a bit different in dirt growing but doing a trial would be better than having the rails hauled off to a landfill somewhere.

The truth about most allopathic plants is that it isn't so much the parts of the plant after it dies that gives off the bad chemicals, it is actually the living plant that gives off the chemicals that help keep down competition around it.  That said, cedar does take an extra long time to break down and therefore would be a very slow hugelkultur choice even if it doesn't give off any bad chemicals.
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    2
I think I'll give it a try on a small scale with acid loving veggies, and doing a side by side comparison with a mound made of deciduous logs, using the same vegetable plants.  I will also be trying the blueberry bed preparation outlined in the Gaia's Garden book using cedar.

I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1311
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Rose,
Most feed stores sell oyster shells by the 50 pound bag as a chicken feed suppliment here. 
In South Carolina we would have oystershells brought in by the dump truck load to pave our driveway rather than use gravel.
Never thought about using it in a garden though, should work.


"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
(Buckman)
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
I bet mussel shells would be just about the same: a slow-release source of Ca and, in minor quantities, N. I think they're thinner (so, no need to crush them), have a greater N content, and are overall probably a better choice, even without considering that they're available on site.

I think a lot of the oyster shells available commercially are from canneries. And I mostly suggested them due to price.

Here in the SF bay, zebra mussels are regarded as an invasive species, and have pushed out some native wildlife. Is that so where you are, too? It sounds like you have a good source of feed (I hear crayfish eat them) and minerals, that you wouldn't have to feel too bad if you depleted.

All that said, if you have limestone gravel available on the property, that would work to neutralize acid in a similar time-release manner. And Paul Wheaton says pH might not be the biggest problem anyhow, so this might all be moot.
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    2
Yeah, Zebra mussels are heavily invasive here and have totally changed many of the lake ecosystems in the area. We don't have them right on site but my family cottage is about 15 minutes away so when I visit there to tend to the gardens, I can come back home with a van and trailer full of lake weeds. I really don't feel bad taking the lake weeds not only because of the invasive zebra mussel removal but because the majority of the lakeweed growth these days is caused by humans.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I think I would rather use any pine, spruce and fir before using cedar.  All of the confers acidify the soil, but cedar has far more allelopathic agents than the others.

Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    2
We have a stand of small stand of scotts pines but we're going to use those for horse fencing. No fir's or spruce, but as I mentioned before, thousands and thousands of old collapsed cedar rail fencing. I'm only gonna do a small trial with them in hugel beds over the next two or three years and go from there depending on failure or success.

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
If you wanna plant lots of cedar trees somewhere, I would mulch them with that old cedar.  Cedar doesn't mind cedar allelopathic stuff. 

And since it is old and carbon heavy, I would pee on it a lot. 

And during the warmer growing season, I would think that cedar trees mulched with lots of old cedar wood would make an excellent poop beast.

Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    2
Ahhh... Mulching the cedar windbreaks that I want to plant with the cedar rails! Great idea and right under my nose. Thanks

Now what the heck is a poop beast?
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Travis wrote:
Now what the heck is a poop beast?


A plant that can consume lots of .... uh .... fertilizer.  Possibly wise to plant next to an outhouse, or to dump your people poop near in the spring.



                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
cedar does take an extra long time to break down and therefore would be a very slow hugelkultur choice even if it doesn't give off any bad chemicals.


Ok, I know about the allopathic properties of Cedar, but the 'cedar' we have (Incense-cedar - Libocedrus decurrens) here is actually in the cypress family.  The heart wood of the mature trees is incredibly rot resistant, but the small baby trees we've been murdering by the thousands recently (understory clearing for fire protection- those trees are PROLIFIC) rot very well, according to my partner who's lived out here and observed the woods for thirty years.  Doug fir is another common (and intensely allopathic) understory ladder fuel we're trying to minimize by chipping up the short trees and using them as mulch or compost materials.  I'm thinking that our high annual rainfall will help leach these chips for a few years as we also compost them, and then they can be used as mulch for perennials.  I want to use the freshly chipped stuff for pathways - suppression of plant growth is desirable there, right? 

Any information about how long or how much water it takes to leach these chemicals?  We've had 26" since july, hopefully this current enormous storm will bring another ten at least.

We have an apple tree growing right under a black walnut (where it's planted makes me think it was an afterthought or was planted way later than the apples), and it's a classic example of how hard some trees make life for others.  The smallest, saddest looking apple of the whole orchard. 

I didn't know about hugelkultur when we did it, but we were inspired by Robert Hart's mulch mounds and made acidic mounds for some blueberry plants this fall.  Oak and other hard wood branches (not large logs, branchier stuff), then rotten blackberries, then earth, then some forest litter and a lot of oak leaves, to about three feet deep and at least as wide.  The berries all still look alive?  Time will tell!
Patrick Freeburger


Joined: Nov 09, 2009
Posts: 51
First, I want to share this link - it's a great picture of Hugelkulture:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nielscorfield/2670902826/sizes/l/
(I assume the guy who put it there had the rights to do so.)

Hugelkulture strikes me the perfect poor man's (read smart man's) rainwater harvesting/catchment/irrigation system - no cistern, no pumps, no pvc pipes, etc.  Most importantly,  I get 20" of rain/year in the SF Bay Area, but almost all of it is outside the growing season* and it would be difficult to store that much water for the year in a cistern or barrels.  I have a small urban/suburban back yard 23' x 24' that I want to maximize what I can grow as much as I can while trying to keep most of the maintenance to a Saturday morning type activity. So I want to try a small scale hugelkutur bed.

Below is my design (Paul is not the only artist in paint/powerpoint ) along with a current photo (retaining walls are my next project).

I think the fruit trees need to be against the back wall for resale value of the house to give a 'normal' house buyer the option of replacing the garden with a lawn, but the will block some of the sun.

Is there a rough formula on how much water a bed would need in a year so I can apply the 4:1 wood to water ratio?    As a city person it will be a litter harder to scrounge old logs.  My current clay soil over shale rock won't be good for much.

Does the direction of the beds matter?  I know they say against the wind, but I don't get much wind in my back yard, so what else should be considered? slope? sun?

I liked the Holzer/Fukuoka idea of just throwing the seeds on top, but I saw some videos of people who were much more methodical about what went on the top vs sides etc.  Is there a strong recommendations for or against either method?  It looks like I will need to buy a lot more seeds - Is there a cheaper place to buy in bulk?

Finally, I am a big tomato and green pepper fan and I have always used trestles or cages to keep them up.  What keeps them from rotting on the ground?


Thanks for any input, I will post my progress.

Patrick

* San Carlos Rainfall
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Inch         4.20 4.04 3.37 1.07 0.43 0.10 0.03 0.10 0.21 1.06 2.62 2.93 20.16


[Thumbnail for 1180 hugelkultur.JPG]

[Thumbnail for backyard.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Holzer insists that the direction of the beds has to be against the direction of the prevailing winds.  But I rather like the idea that if you don't have a lot of windy stuff going on, you might be able to have some flexibility.

First, anytime that my advice varries from Sepp, you should also know that I cannot remember a time where Sepp has heard of one of my ideas and he did not say "catastrophe!" - so you might want to take this suggestion with a grain of salt.

So!  First, I don't like all of the straight lines.  I prefer beds to take on far more interesting shapes.  I also like the idea of some of the beds taking on a curved shape to capture more sun. 

Next, I have this vision, in my head, of cold air pouring from above like billions of gallons of gaseous molasses.    I want that cold molasses to go right on by and leave me alone.  So my beds are kinda wavy and kinda running downhill. 

Next up:  Sepp's beds are way bigger now.  Like six feet tall!  And I think that is rather wise. 

Irene Kightley
pollinator

Joined: Apr 13, 2009
Posts: 326
Location: South West France
    
  14
These are some of our hugelkultur heaps.









This raised bed was made from the heap above with tree roots dug up by the pigs made from a six year old pile covered with goat litter compost and cleaned up by the chickens.



La Ferme de Sourrou : Nos projets avec PHOTOS
TCLynx Hatfield


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
Keep in mind that most people's advice will come from a particular location, viewpoint, or situation.  You will have to pick and choose what will work for you and then try things to see what actually does work in your situation.  There are some methods out there that will warn against picking and choosing and they say you must follow the method exactly and completely, unfortunately, you are not in the same location as where the method was developed and you don't have all the exact same situation.  So, again, a big part of permaculture is paying attention to your situation and figuring out the most efficient way to mimic nature and improve your backyard ecosystem.

The beds should be aligned to take advantage to either, winds, sun, slope, or rain.  I saw a little slope in the picture so perhaps having your beds (swales  follow the conture like natural terraces might have some interest or benefit.  Or curves to catch sun?

All my beds seem to line up running North/south as winds often come from either the east or west though they are rather variable here much of the time.  I'm on really flat ground so there isn't much else to help me choose a more interesting shape.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
urban hugelkultur.

Black locust surrounding rotted maple.  Then filled with dirt and a little soil.  And then a layer of moldy hay.



[Thumbnail for urban_hugelkultur_1.jpg]

[Thumbnail for urban_hugelkultur_2.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
The same bed the following spring complete with volunteers.



[Thumbnail for urban_hugelkultur_3.jpg]

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
The second year was mostly volunteers and the third year was exclusively volunteers. 

Patrick Freeburger


Joined: Nov 09, 2009
Posts: 51
Thanks.  I will try a curved path connecting the steps with raised beds on either side - it will actually make it a little more useful and interesting.  Should the North-ish side of the slope be getting different seeds then the South-ish side?  I only have ~500 sq ft and I want to make the most of it.  I have a lot more reading to do, but thanks for your help.

Thanks,
Patrick
TCLynx Hatfield


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
Assuming you are in the Northern Hemisphere, then you would want to plant the stuff that likes it cooler/shadier or the taller stuff on the North side.  The South Side should be the more heat loving stuff but you may want to avoid really tall stuff that would shade the stuff to the North.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
In the article you find in the internet with these words  "future designers jimbour plains mimicking microclimates story", www.janahn.com.au/  that is not a very long article but is dense and jam packed with usefull information, it says that bacteria are protein packed and flourish where there are high nutrient foods such as urine and manure and that fungi are better at reducing cellulose, wood for example but they channel nitrogen down to the wood to break it down. So whether vegetaqble matter is broken down by fungi or by bacteria it uses nitrogen.
      I suggested earlier in this forum that maybe if organic matter was broken down by fungi it did not use much nitrogen, not as much as bacteria did to break down food, well it seems that fungi like bacteria work with nitrogen but  the article does not say how much nitrogen each uses.  agri rose macskie.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
PatJFree wrote:As a city person it will be a little harder to scrounge old logs.


I would think it would be easier, if you don't mind that most of the logs have been milled, kiln dried, worked over by homebuilders once or twice, and then discarded.



The Natural Way of Farming includes a passage where Fukuoka talks about scrounging organic matter to improve his soil. He wonders what sort of food-producing industries will produce waste most abundantly: Feedlots? Breweries? After looking at the situation carefully, decides that none of them are as good a source as carpenters.

If mid-century Japan wastes so much wood, I bet 21st century America wastes more.

I see ads on Craigslist all the time inviting people to haul away scrap lumber, occasionally firewood as well. Since you're in the SF bay area, there's a fairly reliable source on Wood street in Oakland that comes up more often than others, which I haven't visited yet, but sounds like a large enough operation to have some rotten wood as well as fresh stuff.
TCLynx Hatfield


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
And if you have a handy spot where you can keep some wood wet and perhaps pee on it occasionally, it will start to rot fairly quickly.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
paul wheaton , i loved reading about your huggle ckulture bed because it wasa human story not a super heroes super strong story aboutdigging  them. I think psychiatrist would say, "you have to put a big bank up against the wind or against that icey air flowing down from the sky. rather than  banks running away down hill. My happy days were doing your ideas zigging down hill to escape the cold building up high banks against the ccld is demanding work it stops you dreaming.
  this is a modification of the above writtten few days later it seems maybe unpolite. Paul actually said he wanted the cold air pouring down on him. Crazy male attitude, i like the idea of wiggly lines if you have straight ones you create wind tunnels.
  When i am about to write things taht might be rude i wonder about it and remember , advice from yoga let the water run freely which comes to being an equvilent of Sepps advice, plant lots of poisonouse plants, the advice  that works for relationships to, say things tactfull and less keeps people active handling  the less tactful one to evaluate the situation and relflect how unfair it was what a distorsion of the reality por not depending if they are people who normally defend themselves or who normally allow unfair critisim.
    Also i am a woman and have spent years saying tactfull things and i have had some terrible relationships it worked so badly. I have pretended to like what i don't and people have had a mistaken idea of my ideas and that leads to trouble in the long run. I have pretended to be clueless so as not to step on anyones toes and they have treated me as an idiot and i have been so borded by them as a result that giving up all tact has begun to seem the best method, tact makes for some bad relationships.
  To mention psychological ideas is important for everyone. Don't i just know how complicated it is when you don't know what those who know how to use these ideas are talking about. In this century people people spit them at you, as i have done, and it is hard to anwer them unless you know about the ideas used by this group of people when peple don't talk about one set of ideas or another  and they don't spread, it allows those who do to attack others in some very unfair ways. they can say some very unfair things without the person attacked being able to protect themselves because these are not waters they are used to swimming in . Theses ideas have to  get an airing or you start to get those who haven't  heard of them being bullied by people like me who have . I am a beginer at this type of idea.
  It is rude of me to talk as if Paul description was of how to place banks on a hill was a description of a desire to get out of the cold, i often find his remarks seem to be full of poetic allusions seem to be partly like a bit of blues song instead of just gardening. I reckoned it was not to strong a criticism it is easy to get me back, to return the insulting remark, someone who knows how to organise so many people and activities is sure better than i am at building up banks against cold air.
    Its encouraging that Sepps banks get higher with time  if my bank starts off small, i need not worry i can keep calm in the confidence that they will grow each year if i keep up my efforts.

     You made the side of the road look more cosy  like a garden, incredible. I don't like towns, visually at anyrate, i can imagine liking them more with you doing town planning.

    I suppose setting huglkulture banks  into the wind means setting them side on to the wind so the side of the first bank suffered from cold winds and next bank was protected as was the other side of the fist bank.
       I have spent a long time wondering about that. I talk about it when i have started to get clear in my head what i think he means i don't know what he means but i suppose. I used to be happy with whatever answer i had supposed was the right one and not ask, my suppositions were often bad.  
      In Bill mollisons videos of dry  climate strategies there are the banks put up by Teddy Roosevelt to stop desertification but htey are not made to grow vegetables on but to they are really big, a bit dreamy i suppose in betwen them you are really cut off in a garden where no one can see you. You would have to turn the whole road into a bank if you wanted to copy them. rose.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Banks can also be set to stop the water going down the hill, so you just have to juglgle up different probabliities. rose.
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
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In the spirit of trying to get a head start on the season I'm itching to start building garden beds and one of my main methods will be hugelkultur.

Do you think there would be a problem with laying out the woody debris now, while the ground is still frozen and there are several weeks of full on winter still left? I'm guessing that there may be a problem with blocking the existing soil from the sun, making the ground stay colder for longer... but maybe its a non-issue?
TCLynx Hatfield


Joined: May 03, 2009
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
Depends on what you are planning for the bed.  If you were to essentially bury snow under wood and dirt, it may well keep things cooler right there during the coming summer but it may also provide extra water to the bed for the season.  (I once found snow in a sand pile in Michigan in July.)  Perhaps you put black plastic over the pile for a few weeks to help heat things up before planting?
 
 
subject: Paul Wheaton's hugelkultur article thread
 
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