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Hugel pots

 
Posts: 3
Location: USA, Koppen BSk, USDA 8a, 8b, Sunset 106
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I've watched several youtube videos about planting in hugel pots but none show outcomes. Do they really work, grow healthy plants? Would including charged biochar mitigate the nitrogen loss caused by the decomposing wood?
 
pollinator
Posts: 320
Location: Quebec, Canada
45
hugelkultur forest garden trees urban
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Unless the pots are very large, I would not put sticks at the bottom as most plants need as much soil to grow in as possible. Pots are generally smaller than ideal because we like to be able to lift them and move them to another location on occasion, or for whatever other reason.

I would prefer to simply have a good mixture of compost mixed with the soil and if you want to minimize watering manually, then put in plants that that can live off of the rain. They will need to be more drought tolerant than if you put it in the ground.

The exception if I have a very deep large pot and less root system in comparison to the pot, and need some filler then I could add branches or mulch at the bottom to use less soil.  

I would mulch the surface of the soil with mulch to reduce evaporation and conserve as much moisture in the pot as possible.  

Whenever possible it is usually better to plant in the ground than in pots.
 
Rebecca Willis
Posts: 3
Location: USA, Koppen BSk, USDA 8a, 8b, Sunset 106
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Thanks for responding so quickly. People who live in apartments have only patios or balconies. I'm trying to work out how to get very good evenly moist soil in a pot,  to reduce watering and without buying expensive wicking beds. I agree that I need bigger than usual pots if I try hugel pots. I want to make sure that they work.
 
Michelle Bisson
pollinator
Posts: 320
Location: Quebec, Canada
45
hugelkultur forest garden trees urban
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You could experiment with some pots "hugel" style and others other methods and then compare.  You can always share your experiences here so others can learn from them.
 
Rebecca Willis
Posts: 3
Location: USA, Koppen BSk, USDA 8a, 8b, Sunset 106
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Of course. By inquiring here I was hoping somebody had already worked it out. I'll give it a go. Have you had any experience using charged biochar in a potting mix?
 
Posts: 319
Location: South Central Kansas
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I made several LARGE Hugel pots.
Haven't had any problems over past year or two I think.
Still need to water as usual though, being a pot an all.
The hugel pots do make then quite stable. And HEAVY. Less worries about neighborhood thieves!

A few weeks ago I put in some charged biochar.

Remember, charged does not mean activated.
Just means things are in there and ready to go for when it warms up.
Microbes and such I think go dormant under 50F.
 
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I was part of a few seasons of a collective garden, and they used home-made wicking beds. It was really a gorgeous garden, which produced a very significant yield.

They had two designs: one was deep Rubbermaid-style bins, with coroplast signs folded in a sort of accordion to form "water pockets". The soil itself formed the wick. They added a PVC pipe to fill them from below, and an overflow hole drilled at the proper height.

(see attached sketch - it's terrible but it should give you the general idea)

The other design was made with recycled 5 gallon buckets (from the food industry). I didn't get to see how the internal wicking system was created, but there are plenty of plans for those on the internet.

Neither make for gorgeous pots, but you can nestle them in nicer containers. For instance, I have a large cedar plant box, in which I nestle three self-wicking pots. The soil is not in direct contact with the wood, and if I need to change the soil or move the box, I can more easily remove the three pots rather than empty the whole thing.

20200212_081138.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20200212_081138.jpg]
Coroplast board folded to make a wicking bed in a plastic storage bin
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