Hello fellow Permies!
This is my first attempt at a raised hugel bed. I decided to experiement with pallets as my mom had seen vertical garden displays useing them. I filled the core with as big of logs as i could find, and all size branches. Much of it was already partly rotted. I dug a pit and backfilled all organic matter before filling it and attaching additional planks of wood and planted inbetween the slots. It seems like so far so good minus the fact that they look like pallets still....what do you think?
I like what I'm seeing here. One of the things that attracted me to hugel beds was that it changes year to year ( Rotting, settling, so forth). I'm not sure how this one would change and settle but I'd love see how it works for you.
Needs some vines planted on it which will take over and make it hard to find the pallet wood underneath. I would try scarlet runner beans, sweet potatoes, blackberries, kiwis, grapes, nasturtium, maybe some vining varieties of squash or tomato. I may have to steal this idea and see what I can get to take off and grow like a weed.
I like this idea. Could be awesome if you live in an area where rabbits are an issue. Also very space saving and a great idea if you are space limited or need to go up in order to access more light. Strawberries growing on this would be amazing.
I am extremely pleased with all the positive comments so thank you all! Here is an updated picture of my first hugelkultur project. On some of the upper levels I added some shelves to help the soil from the settleing hugelbed from calling off the edges I think I will adapt this method on my next project as I can add multch and hand planting various plants would be much easier. So far almost all the plants I transplanted have survived, I will definately try one from seed if I make them much larger then this one. I might even try higher as I found even longer pallets....maybe 9 feet? My thinking was you could use the pallets as a ladder to climb up and get the tall veggies. What do you all think?
This project is in Ontario Canada.
Here is another view from the back!
I foregot to mention I definately have been thinking of building a fence this way so I loved the comments. I was thinking if you did them all around your property that you would have a mega windbreak and hopefully microclimate.....plus mega privacy if you live in a suburban area like me.
Brilliant use of space and materials, IMHO. The updated photos attest to the plants enjoying their environment. You have created quite a varied polyculture in such a small space. Congratulations on your ingenuity. Looking good! Cheers!
I honestly like yours better than mine, although the wood does block some growing space, it would also hold in moisture..and being very vertical it would be easier to reach the top on yours than the top on mine, which is a real challenge for me to reach.
have you noticed any shrinkage from the top down?
Bloom where you are planted.
Thanks for the compliments! The first mound I built I ran out of soil so the top level is not filled with soil I plan to fill it eventually. At first I did not have any shelves to hold any soil in place and i was finding my plants doing a quicksand effect on the upper levels. I tried jamming some sides under the top levels and it worked pretty well. The 2nd mound I built has shelves on every level and have experieneced no settleing yet on that one.
Please vote for me in the Purple Pepper Awards! You must find Terra greenhouses on facebook and like them. Then click on the purple pepper awards, then finally "most exotic edible garden" I will win prizes if I get the most votes!
I am not sure what the annual rainfall is here but I live near Toronto Canada.
I ended up watering the mound a few times even though now I regret it.....
My mistake was putting too many water loving plants near the top and I could have used a little mulch. I thought I would let the vines cascade down the mound but since I didn't water it for a long time, I should have planted all vines on the base level and let them crawl over the mound. I let a morning glory do this and it has taken over the whole mound but all my plants under seem to be just fine. Also I should have preplanned my plant guilds as I just planted randomly and tried to spend as little as possible.
If anyone is to try this design here is how I would improve it next time. The angle of the boards tend to drip water from one level to the next which is good, however the sun drys the soil just under the boards creating a gap. Therefore gives a pathway for water flow. I would keep the 2x4 frame at the same angle but try to notch them so the panels are all vertical so it looks more like steps. I believe this would correct the problem.
Tim, this is such good stuff, and what I think permies is all about. This shows so much innovation, you are trying something and observing, making adjustments for the future, and spreading the word to others. If there was an award for best project this year, you would have my vote. For now I can only give you an apple.
Happy to answer your question! Most of what I had read about hugelkultur you are suppose to use about 1 third wood for soil mound. However I have very hard clay and I could only dig down by hand so far and I didn't want to bring in extra soil so I used a tonne of wood and debris. It is probably about 50% stacked wood, 25% random sticks and organic matter and 25% soil from the ground. The pallets are from a near by camping store (I got permission).
Here is what it looks like in the morning when the blossoms are open.
Okay Permie People!! My next design is ready for feedback! Here are some rough drawings of my design. I decided to ditch the pallets this time around and use slabs of wood and solid hardwood posts to attach them. This way much more rain can enter the top and no risk of soil eroding. Can you tell what I am trying to draw?
These two pics show how hugel mound on the inside with the boards on the sides making steps. Also several mounds working together and attaching the hoop house frame to the tops of the wooden posts. Therefore channeling all the rain into the top of the bed maybe leaving extra sand in the top to have the water penetrate as best it can......ok.... FEEDBACK PLEASE
Looking at this again today and it occurred to me - I don't know how you fill the frame with dirt Once it is all together, it looks like it would be hard to load it up with dirt, and I'm not at all clear about what point in the construction process would be the right time to fill with dirt.
Put up the ends and one side, then start loading dirt from the open side and adding the planks as you go upward?
Tim, how did you do it?
And as many have said, great idea(s). I've got a collection of pallets, some of which are definitely destined for this sort of use, inspired by your work.
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