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Hugelkulture in wetland/floodplain. Is there such a thing as TOO much water?

 
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So it has been a rain parade here in Western KY. I'm sure this year will have a dry spell, always does. But when it's wet, it's sodden.

I'm interested in implementing hugelkulture in a flat area with plenty of standing water after rain, including what runs down from a upward slope across the road.
What concern, if any, would there be for standing water inside the bottom of the hugel beds? Is there an anaerobic danger?

My theory has become that's with enough bulky woody material and a large enough bed in both heigth and width, I may avoid these issues...

I turn now, to the wise...
Thoughts? Experience?

🖖Gratitude 🙏
 
pollinator
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I like hugelkultur for the flexibility of the design. One little change, and it's gone from being arid-climate oriented to being sodden-climate oriented.

The wood, so long as there's enough of it, should act as a sponge, pulling the water from the soil where there exists more in the soil than the water, and releasing it slowly to the surrounding soil thereafter. That allows it, in most cases, to keep air spaces open so root zones don't asphyxiate.

If you're concerned, I would connect my hugelbeets to a system of excavated swales filled with woody matter, woodchips if you can get them delivered for free or cheaply (some urban arborists, for instance, will drop whole loads for free just to save them shipping and disposal costs). If you connect your hugelbeet wood sponge with the wood sponge of the swale, it will enable you to not only store more water, but distribute the excesses easier and more effectively.

Though this dynamic depends a lot on your soil. If you have drainage issues, the woodchips will improve them over time, especially if you add more, but if you have something like a calcium deficiency making your clay gloopy when sodden and cementitious when dessicated, you might need to add something like gypsum to your soil, especially at the bottom of your hugelbeets, such that the clay particles have something else to adhere to other than themselves, opening up the soil structure to allow water and air.

-CK
 
pollinator
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Lauren Magnolia wrote:So it has been a rain parade here in Western KY. I'm sure this year will have a dry spell, always does. But when it's wet, it's sodden.

I'm interested in implementing hugelkulture in a flat area with plenty of standing water after rain, including what runs down from a upward slope across the road.
What concern, if any, would there be for standing water inside the bottom of the hugel beds? Is there an anaerobic danger?

My theory has become that's with enough bulky woody material and a large enough bed in both heigth and width, I may avoid these issues...

I turn now, to the wise...
Thoughts? Experience?

🖖Gratitude 🙏



I think you can make something work. Have you ever heard of Chinampas? These were basically floating hugel islands made by the aztecs. I would think you could easily make something work inspired by a little bit of hugelkultur and a little bit of Chinampas.
 
Lauren Magnolia
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thanks for the replies, folks! always a comfort to ask the room before just diving in (particularly when diving with a shovel)
will check back as project progresses
 
pollinator
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I built some small hugels on a slope down to a riparian zone that stayed permanently swampy here in the pacific northwest. During the wettest time of year the soil around the base of the mounds would revert to basically a swamp but the hugels always stayed a nice consistent moisture. If anything bigger would have been better but even our small mounds made the space more usable by eliminating the really swampy period
 
pollinator
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Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
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These are some pictures of our work at the Crescent City Food Forest at College of the Redwoods (see my thread on the site). We get 100” of rain per year, and 12x the sites area in hardscape runoff (1.25acre site with 14acres of hardscape). That’s 386,000gal/inch of rain and we get 5” days every winter. Yet after creating our wetlands, woody debris trenches and ponds for diversion/absorption and the hugels’ drainage and soil warmth, we can plant a month earlier than most and go months without watering.
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And then we all jump out and yell "surprise! we got you this tiny ad!"
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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