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Ely, MN Hugels...stoked!

Don Splitter

Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
Well I figured out this last week how much can get accomplished in a few days time. I had a few days by myself with a chainsaw cutting up deadfalls, and rotted logs on my property. I had a friend coming up whom could help me for a day. With no "heavy" equipment we had ourselves, a Honda Element(best friggin multipurpose front end loader ever!) and a couple axes.

I had posted these photos last fall looking for advice on my idea.





I was also lucky enough to find a local firewood dealer with lots and lots of birch, and aspen sawdust. There's nothing cooler than smashing open a water logged dead log, and ringing the water out of the pulp.

Well, I'll be putting the humus on top and finishing the hugels in a couple weeks. Then it will be time to plant clovers...then potatoes and beets a little further on.

I have about 6 more hugel sites I'm working on for trees, but I have to pick away at it. I also found the existance of an old creek bed that has been used by some now cleared deadfall, and little trees. I'm looking forward to getting that re-established later this fall.

My good friend is pretty excited about helping me with these projects, so we made sure to drink some over-hopped tasty beers, and sample other fine natural "treats" to celebrate this big initial task.

Stay tuned!

Zone 3(a/b) Ely, Minnesota
No matter what it is I pursue.. I prefer to pursue using my energy
darius Van d'Rhys

Joined: Jul 07, 2011
Posts: 56
Location: SW Virginia Mountains, USA
Wow, looks really great! I do remember your "before" pictures, but glad you included them again for comparison(s).
Thelma McGowan

Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
I hope you will post more pics when it is planted....Looks really great.

There are no experts, Just people with more experience.
Don Splitter

Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
I'll definitely be posting updates on the progress. I have some swales/paths to build, but everytime I survey my 10 acres my mind spins with ideas. Especially the creek idea...I'm going to clear that out, and put some old pond liners in the low area to observe water flow this spring summer. Then if it get's good accumulation. I'm going to have an excavator come out, and dig me a fish pond!

I also have another huge hugel further down the drive way where I'll be doing a 3 sisters either this summer, or next year. That area is lower on the totem pole. I'm also working on creating mushroom plots on some logs that I've cut up, but didn't use.

It was a busy weekend for sure...I figured out how to turn 6V batteries into 12V for my solar array, and also had the pleasure of finding a dead squirrel in my sleeping bag right before I laid down to sleep. For some reason I for that one time decided to shake out my sleeping bag...who knows why, and then...boom out rolled a dead red squirrel poor little critter.

Don Splitter

Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
Well just an update on the Hugels. Got them all finished, and clover planted on all of them. The clover took literally 2 days!! to germinate. I got a little help from the rain gods, so they're off to the races. Now it will be time to observe, and make plans for next seasons plantings. I have a pretty decent size garden at my city home that I need to finish, before my wife loses her mind w/ my yard mess. I most proud that these Hugels were built solely by people power, wheelbarrows, axes, shovels, chainsaw, and a little help on the BIG logs from my Element.

My helper brother...He's caught the "permie" bug.

I had enough time to start up another Hugel that turned out to be the biggest of all. This one is in a perfect "sun trap" area.

The deer definitely like the wild clover, so I'm hoping I can figure out a way for them to leave the trees alone. They're on the property, so they fall under the "no shoot" policy.

Deer munching with Service Berry tree in the foreground. I've got a bunch of native Service Berry trees up there. I'll be grafting more next year.

It's nice to finally allow these Hugels to "run" their process for this year. I'll be planting some sunflowers and other soil building goodies. Then in the late summer go the trees. I got these as "grafters" from St. Lawrence Nursery. They've all sprouted leaves, and the clover has started to spring up around the bases.

Then later this summer...I found some native Blueberry plants. Blueberries really are cool plant. They need alot of irrigation, so guess what the do. Hole up on a bed of moss, so that's where mine will be relocated to.

Blueberries with some pine mulch.

Happy Ely Sunset!

Frolf Lundgren

Joined: Feb 20, 2012
Posts: 39
Location: Finland, MN
Nice. I was just in Ely the other day. I recently bought acreage in the Finland state forest. Cheers!

My uncle always said, "Raising beds is better than wetting them".
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