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Hugelbeets built with regards to wind or water?

Guy Aday

Joined: May 01, 2013
Posts: 1
Location: Gibsonville, NC.
Hello All, this if my first post but I've been reading the boards for a while, learning new things all the time.

In preparation for some putting in some hugelbeets, approximately 6'x25' and 6' tall I've become stuck on whether it's better for me to build them with regards to wind or water. The gently sloping land contours are parallel with the prevailing wind. My initial idea is to build cross contour (against the prevailing wind) for the benefit of creating windblocks on the leeward side and then using smaller hugelbeet buttresses on contour which would put them perpendicular to the main bed, allowing for small water catchments along the length of the bed.

I am in the North Carolina Piedmont, zone 7a. Our average rainfall is 40+ inches but the soil is heavy clay, acidic...water sits for a long time on the surface or runs off. My plan would be to plant the small buttresses with comfrey, very deep rooted and tolerates large amounts of moisture. They would also be at a convenient height for my poultry to self harvest. It would also provide a prolific, nitrogen rich mulch close at hand.

I've had winds that have snapped otherwise healthy 12+" dbh oak trees, one of which is in the proposed grow area and will be recycled into the beds. The plan seems solid, just looking for some input from experienced growers. There will be four hugelbeet total, in two rows of two with about 30' between rows and a small break between each beet in line. I already have heritage apples growing in the area that will be between the rows. I will probably add small hugelbeet retention berms to the trees on the downslope countour for fruit tree guilds.

Thanks for the input in advance.

Asgard Farm
Pastured, Local, Better.
Miles Flansburg

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 3290
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
Howdy Guy welcome to permies! Sounds like you have a good plan to me. I have some strong winds in Wyoming too so when I get around to building my hugels I will use them as windbreaks and snow fencing.
Tom OHern

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 230
Location: Seattle, WA
I would keep the beds on contour but plant a wind break tree line instead. With as much rain as your get, putting beds cross contour sounds like a great way to wash away topsoil.

Walnuts tend to have good taproots and can hold up to a lot of wind (at least better than the oaks will).

The solution to your soil issue is mulching at least 6" deep with straw and leaves. Plant your comfrey and such in that and you should be good to go within a year or two.
subject: Hugelbeets built with regards to wind or water?