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hugelkultur - Can I plant in it immediately?

ellen rosner


Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 116
Hi,
I studied this site prior to building my hugelkultur:
http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

On this site he shows plants on the hugelkulture immediately.
And the hugelkultur posts on this forum do not - as I can recall - mention any issue with planting immediately.

Yesterday a permaculture friend of mine said that I shouldn't plant for a year bec. in the 1st year the rotting logs would leach nitrogen from the plant.

Is this an issue?
Does it depend on how rotted the logs are?

I hope I can plant immediately as I am very excited to see how my hugelkultur turns out.

Thanks,
ellen
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I planted in mine immediately.  If you use manure or other high-nitrogen ingredient in the pile, it isn't a problem, in my opinion. 


Idle dreamer

ellen rosner


Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 116
Thanks.
I have some grass clippings I will add for nitrogen.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i usually just grow Nitrogen fixing plants over the winter and spring, and by summer i can plant whatever i want. i build hugelkultur beds in the fall.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
I just built  a bed in august, and immediately planted radish, fava beans, wax beans, turnips, and rapini.  There were no added fertilizers, manures, or other nutrient inputs. All we used were logs, with twigs piled on top, then upturned sod ontop of that, and about 5-6 inches of sandy depleted soil to finish it off.

The growth of the crops mentioned above has been in keeping with what I would expect out of a manured garden.

My understanding is that if you have a layer of branches/twigs on top of the larger logs, the branches will start leaching nutrients quickly enough for your crops to use.


http://www.greenshireecofarms.com
Zone 5a in Central Ontario, Canada
ellen rosner


Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 116
Travis Philp wrote:
I just built  a bed in august, and immediately planted radish, fava beans, wax beans, turnips, and rapini.  There were no added fertilizers, manures, or other nutrient inputs. All we used were logs, with twigs piled on top, then upturned sod ontop of that, and about 5-6 inches of sandy depleted soil to finish it off.

The growth of the crops mentioned above has been in keeping with what I would expect out of a manured garden.

My understanding is that if you have a layer of branches/twigs on top of the larger logs, the branches will start leaching nutrients quickly enough for your crops to use.


Thanks! I'm so glad I can plant in my hugelkultur.
I'm new to permaculture, and learning by bits and pieces.
A lot of what is discussed is too detailed for me to follow, but I fastened upon the hugelkultur - aha- something I can do! 

And since starting constructing my huglekulturs I find I have an obsession with logs and branches. I want to pick up every one I pass. I've always liked re-using things, esp. things that used to be alive.
Cris Bessette
volunteer

Joined: May 20, 2011
Posts: 674
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 8A
    
  29
I used hugleculture the first time this year and it didn't do good at all. I imagine specifically because of the lack of nitrogen. All my plants were small and sickly in the new beds.

My source of manure "dried up" so I wasn't able to enrich the soil to overcome the rotting wood nitrogen drain.

Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 4531
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
173

Check out this thread for a no-cost, almost instant cure for nitrogen deficient plants, in this case under mulch but I'm pretty sure the same 'cure' would work in hugel beds.


What is a Mother Tree ?
                                  


Joined: Oct 04, 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Chautauqua County KS
Hello All, Would Cedar work for making my hugelkultur?


Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Stay Curious
ellen rosner


Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 116
Burra Maluca wrote:
Check out this thread for a no-cost, almost instant cure for nitrogen deficient plants, in this case under mulch but I'm pretty sure the same 'cure' would work in hugel beds.


Great thread!
The thread says "pee and wood ashes".
Is it necessary to use both, or can I just use urine?

If I plant legumes in the fall and turn them in in the Spring, should I still add pee?
And when to add the pee- now, or in the Spring?

Thanks.
ellen
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
notomoro wrote:
Hello All, Would Cedar work for making my hugelkultur?


I use a mixture of oak and cedar (juniper) in mine.  Seems to work so far.  I try to use cedar which has aged for at least a year.

Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Ellen, you don't need the wood ashes, pee will work fine on its own. I think there should be more water added to a mix without wood ashes, than with, because the wood ash would help lower the acidity of the urine.

As for when to add the pee...how much longer until you get a hard (killing) frost? What zone are you in?
ellen rosner


Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 116
Hi,
I am in zone 6.

a real killing frost...probably in December.

Travis Philp wrote:
Ellen, you don't need the wood ashes, pee will work fine on its own. I think there should be more water added to a mix without wood ashes, than with, because the wood ash would help lower the acidity of the urine.

As for when to add the pee...how much longer until you get a hard (killing) frost? What zone are you in?
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Then I'd suggest going ahead with the golden shower
ellen rosner


Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 116
Travis Philp wrote:
Then I'd suggest going ahead with the golden shower



ok...but in private!

So - what is the relation between the nitrogen fixing and the temperature?

thanks
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Well, my thinking at the time of my reply was that the nutrients from urine will leach through the soil (becoming unavailable to plants) in a relatively short time due to precipitation. So if your plants were gonna die any day now, it may be a wasted effort to do the urine thing at this stage.

But now I'm thinking that even if your plants had a day or two to live and draw the nutrients from the urine, they would accumulate it in their tissue and hold it in the system as part of the green manure process once they died off.
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 149
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
Regarding CEDAR in hugelkultur - cedar is alelopathic (spelling?), meaning it contains chemicals which retard the growth of other plants.  Not a good choice for hugelkulture. I don't believe any conifer is a good hugelkulture candidate.  I will delete this post if someone knowledgeable tells me I am wrong.


Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6495
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
Cedar also can take many years to break down...That is why they use it for fence posts!
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Charles Kelm wrote:
Regarding CEDAR in hugelkultur - cedar is alelopathic (spelling?), meaning it contains chemicals which retard the growth of other plants.  Not a good choice for hugelkulture. I don't believe any conifer is a good hugelkulture candidate.  I will delete this post if someone knowledgeable tells me I am wrong.


Can't speak to cedar but I made a hugelbed using100% scotts (scotch) pine. The average diameter size of the wood was 2-4 inches, with many 'twigs' mixed on top too. It's gone through two growing seasons, with carrots, head lettuce, miners lettuce, and radish. Everything grew quite well.
 
 
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