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gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 1788
Location: mountains of Tennessee
687
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee homestead ungarbage
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This extremely fun hugel project was made with a shovel, a rake, & a wheelbarrow. There are more pics & details here.

The wood had previously been cut or was in manageable sizes. Some was gathered from the woods floor & some was firewood past it's prime. Some was rather decomposed & some was fresher. The biggest log at the base was cut by a road crew. A buddy I & grabbed some big pieces for firweood but it didn't burn well. Everything else came from on site. I chose this location because of it's proximity to zones 1 & 2. It is in full sun. The soil underneath is very hard packed but somewhat fertile. It was once a pasture. It is along a contour that fits in with the overall garden feng shui. It is also near collected rain water in case that is needed. I intend to make a mini pond for it soon.

The soils used range from poor sandy dirt to beautiful worm rich topsoil gathered from under many of years of leaves. Some was gathered from around the roots of a huge tree that fell in a storm. Another dozen loads of soils came from some small trenches dug for other projects. The main mulches are straw, lawn clippings, black eyed pea remnants, corn husks, & leaves. It has a fair amount of semi-composted cow pies & a large amount of earthworms. Have added some kitchen scraps but not many. Virtually all of it was moved uphill. That was probably the hardest part.

Built this hugel several months ago. It is still doing well & I think it will provide a lot of low maintenance food for many years to come. It was built with the minimum footprint required by the BB as an experiment but have gradually started extending it along the contour. Very gradually so far. Encountered problems acquiring sunchokes but those arrived today. Five varieties. Some went into this tall hugel & some went into another hugel.


The list of initial plantings includes ...

crimson clover

buckwheat

16 bean soup mix

homegrown bean mix

Packman broccoli

celabrese

toy choy

rape

sparkler white tip radish

cherry bell radish

Chinese white winter radish

Miyashige White Daikon radish

sugar snap peas

Austrian winter peas

seven top turnip

Bloomsdale spinach

Detroit red beet

Sweet Lorane fava beans

Red Russian kale

Michihili cabbage

tat soi Asian greens

cilantro

Azur Star kohlrabi

Georgia collards

salad sensation hybrid mix spinach

rainbow mix microgreens

Red Planet salad mix

black oil sunflower w/millet mixed in

Sepp Holzer perennial grain

sunroots



























8 foot lumber



chickens approve

















Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I certify this BB complete! I see a borderline good enough volume of N fixers in the photo to satisfy the "mostly Nitrogen fixers" requirement. Nice hugel!

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So how do I do this in a rental and a desert? There are very few trees around me that can be harvested.

I have straw bale raised gardens and have been keeping records of them for 2 years.
 
master steward
Posts: 7919
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2297
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
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That makes it a bit trickier.  For a rental, I'm guessing some permission would be needed.  Or find a location elsewhere where someone wants one built on their land.  If wood isn't nearby, I'm not sure if a hugel is the right tool for the situation.  Importing materials a long way may negate the carbon equation.

I didn't have the gear to do one on my own property so I did it on someone else's (using their tractor)...
 
pollinator
Posts: 1413
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
128
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Just had an idea while listening to the podcast, that farmers who are interested in a PEP person could allow the use of a bit of a low-use corner of their land to people working on badges.  There's no commitment to the relationship beyond that, the farmer may or may not end up with a decent hugel bed, but worst case there's just a half-finished one in a corner they don't really use.  There could someday be some extension of the farm finder websites that would facilitate these connections and clarify for the farmer and the PEP badger what the terms of the agreement are.  That would allow apartment-dwellers and so on to do this, possibly help farmers a bit, and also allow farmers to see a hugelbed up close.  There might be opportunities for PEPers to work together and build community and lower transportation costs too--you get four people together and build a quadruple hugel bed and have a party after.  

I appreciate that this is always free.  I also wonder if there could be a way for the badge-er of putting up some collateral to show your commitment, and you get it back after you've completed your badge (and returned all tools to where they belong, clean and in the condition you found them.).  There can be many ways of showing commitment.  It's a lot to ask a farmer to trust a stranger coming to their land, anything that can reassure them and guarantee that they don't have to take on any additional responsibilities would be gold.

There are other places that might want a hugel bed:

--nonprofits that have a bit of land around an office building
--primary and secondary schools with a garden, colleges with a meal plan
--senior centers?
--churches/places of worship
--government facilities
--armed forces, a fair number of soldiers have an interest in preparedness and food production in my experience
--permaculture projects that don't have enough volunteers...

in sum, a matchmaking website for people who are dying to make a hugelbed and the land-owners who love them.

Btw, a non-profit I've been involved in for 17 years could do with a hugelbed, in the capital district, NY.
 
Mike Haasl
master steward
Posts: 7919
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2297
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
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I agree, there are lots of places where you could tuck one without it being a burden on the landowner.

If anyone wants to build one by hand on my land, they're more than welcome!  I don't have heavy equipment...
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1413
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
128
kids trees urban writing
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Another thing, if you're using Zoom, why not use a free thing that's exactly the same?  Freeconferencecall.com is supported solely through an arcane profit-sharing agreement and donations, I've used it for years (mostly just phone, but it does video too).  For some reason everyone's heard of Zoom, but freeconferencecall.com is free and I've never seen it work any less well than Zoom.  You just go set up a free account and people join in just like with Zoom.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1413
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
128
kids trees urban writing
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Mike Haasl wrote:I agree, there are lots of places where you could tuck one without it being a burden on the landowner.

If anyone wants to build one by hand on my land, they're more than welcome!  I don't have heavy equipment...



Thanks Mike, and for all your work on the PEP project.  

This networking database idea could get combined with the regional forums on Permies potentially.

I guess initially I could start a thread "looking for land for doing PEP badges" and "looking for PEPpers to let use a piece of my land."  I can think of one farmer I saw listing that they wanted to have a long trial period and build a relationship before succession, and maybe that farmer would be open to this idea.  
 
Mike Haasl
master steward
Posts: 7919
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2297
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
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Here's something that Dave put together to put land owners together with PEP enthusiasts:   Locations to do PEP/PEX

I think as the program continues to grow, we'll need to have a way for Otises and Otessas to find PEP people.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1413
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
128
kids trees urban writing
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Requesting a second opinion, is this clear that it's 7' tall?  Thanks.

(I realize the picture of the trench needs to be re-taken with something showing the depth, I'll put the shovel in there and then show the shovel next to the yard waste bin.  It's actually an extra foot deep, 4 feet, and then the mound is 4' above grade, by my measure.  I also see in rereading that the back trench needs to be deepened to 3' deep too, which will be good as a frost escape valve.)
.
Also I'm not clear on sources for Holzer grain, I've tried three likely suspects but would appreciate any updates.  I haven't looked into B&T, is customs an issue for that?  Thanks

20200508_160233.jpg
above ground
trench. looking from the south. need to re-photograph with a shovel to show depth.
20200508_160320.jpg
trench--need to re-shoot picture with shovel in it or something
above ground
 
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