Hello. I'm building some sunscoop Hugelkulturs, off-contour, uphill from a swale, and they are above-ground, true Hugelkulturs. I have a small Kubota with a backhoe attachment and I am thinking of what would be my best option for sourcing my topsoil. I was thinking about doing another swale and just leaving it without a berm, to use the topsoil on the Hugelkulturs. I was also thinking of digging a pond out and using the topsoil from there. I am also wondering if I could use any of the materials from further into my soil? Beneath the topsoil, a clay soil appears. Could I put topsoil/clay on the Hugelkulturs? Or should I stick with topsoil. Most of the topsoil seems to be adhering to the roots of the grass/other wild species that are all over my property. Thanks for any advice.
wayne fajkus wrote:What about letting the hugel bed be the berm of a swale. This would keep the hugel bed "true" and should help recharge it by keeping water there longer
I've read to keep Hugels off contour. Sepp Holzer and Paul Wheaton both advise against burying wood on contour. I think I am going to just do the pond idea and whatever clay is mixed into the topsoil while covering the hugels, I'll just mulch and plant a cover crop and hope for a speedy transition into good tilth. Thanks for the suggestion.
A good way to get a fair bit of soil for your hugel is to clear the soil, etc away from where you'll be building the mound and set that aside for covering. You can also dig down at the base and make a bit of a sunken foot path around your mounds to get more soil (this will also provide opportunity to clear grass away from the base of your mound so it doesn't invade as much right off the bat). I like your idea of just sort of mixing what you take out for your pond, the soil will build pretty quickly if you plant plenty of cover crops and mulch the heck out of it. Good call on staying off contour! You can create a heck of a frost pocket that way witch you may not be too keen on!! Jack Spirko of the Survival Podcast also recommends against this practice....so take that good advice from all of those experienced folks.
I'm also struggling with where to acquire the amount of soil necessary to build a 6 foot tall hugel bed. On this Podcast - 340 - Hugelkultur Listener Questions With Cassie - Part 2 Paul mentions digging down 3 feet on either side of where you want to build the hugel (your pathways) and piling that on top of your hugel which would be inbetween the two pathways you just dug. A couple of thoughts/questions on come to mind.
Won't the water puddle up in the low pathways and essentially give water a place to drain away from the hugel... depending on the climate this might be bad?
Does Paul intend for us to dig out the center to the same height as the pathways and place the wood at "path level" and build from there? So essnetially having to provide almost 6 feet of wood material and covering it, vs 3feet if you didn't dig out the center?
This 3 dip in terrain change in a yard area will be dangerous, how do we make it safer? We could fence it in and or make it a gradual transition to 3 feet.