Need advice - Hugelkultur

PachhuFebruary 2, 2014

In one portion of my garden I have tree trunks surrounded by logs, dead blackberry plants, brushes etc. Can I start a Hugelkultur garden?

Need guidance and advice from gurus.

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Yes, you are off to a great start as it looks like some of the logs and stumps have already started to break down. Getting them piled up and covered with soil is gong to be your next step.

As for advice, here is an interesting article on hugelkultur

Here is a link that might be useful: Hugelkultur Info

This post was edited by Tygerius on Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 16:52

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Thanks Tygerius for the advice and the link.

I do not have access for any extra soil apart from what is available in my property. Can I use the adjacent soil to cover up the logs. I am not planning to bring in new top soil from outside. Is that OK?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 12:15AM
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Yes, you can use the soil you have onsite you can even use the grass/sod as additional matter for the Hugelbed. Depending on the type of soil you have you may want to look into adding some organic matter or compost. I have terrible soil for planting where its either clay rich or dense sun baked compacted and devoid of life, so I like to add some compost to help boost mycelial growth and worms and castings from my bin which help aerate the soil and spread nutrients around.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:18AM
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What type of vegetables and flowers can I grow on Hugelkutur? Since this spot looks bad compared to the rest of my property I want hide as much as possible the logs and brushes. I am planning to plant in the spring. Anything which grows fast and looks good. Please suggest some names.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 11:40PM
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A properly constructed hugelkultur bed will just look like a large pile of dirt. This is just a rough list, you can find a complete thread discussing the topic and if you read through it you will find people have conflicting opinions regarding certain plants but this should help you get started. At the end of the day it should be a mix of nitrogen fixers lovers and some of your favorite fruits vegetables and flowers. I hope this helps, good luck

Don't Grow:
Brussels Sprouts

American Liquorice
Autumn Olive
Bog Myrtle/Sweet Gale
Dyer's Greenweed
Goat's Rue
Ground Nut/Apios
Hog Peanut
Milk Thistles
Northern Bayberry
Russian Silverberry/Oleaster
Sea Buckthorn
Velvet Bean

Here is a link that might be useful: 1st year Hugelkultur suggestions

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:30AM
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Why not simply add some 'extra' nitrogen to the hugel when it is first constructed? There are lots of places to get "nitrogen" without having to go to the reviled "artificial" fertilizer. Some examples are livestock feed-lots/farms such as goat, sheep, llamas, chickens, ducks etc. Most - especially those in the northern tier of states - muck out their barns in Spring, and the manure is has a very high urine (nitrogen) content. It would seem to me to be a perfect amendment to the soil that was being placed on/in the hugel. While it may be that decaying trees "steal" nitrogen, no amount of decaying wood could steal all the nitrogen available in "hot" poultry or livestock manure. In fact, it would seem to me - an inexperienced 'hugelkulturist' - that supplying some extra nitrogen would accelerate the breakdown of the wood.

Just a thought...


    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:52AM
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celticgarden(z6b CT)

It's quite a lot of work. I've done a "dig a hole put the deadwood in" version. I'm sure my neighbors thought I was digging a grave that evening, shoveling away shrouded in the cool fog. If you had access the heavy equipment (a neighbor?) you could move those logs, have the hole dug then bury the logs. The suggestion of adding nitrogen is a good one. Don't forget human pee. An option also might be to add organic matter as you come by it and keep the area covered by a tarp to prevent weeds, retain moisture and hasten degradation. Plant vining annuals on the perimeter. Nasturtiums, sweet potatoes. Hopefully the area gets good sun. Have fun, I applaud the efforts!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:49AM
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Here are some of the latest photos of my project. I have tried to squeeze in 4 photos.

To begin with the Hugelkultur spot itself was in a sunken place so I did not have to remove the dirt. The problem I am facing now is that there are gaps and porous spots where things can go in.

I am going to fill the place with peat moss and soil before planting. First couple of seasons will be bit of an experiment.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 10:28PM
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You are so blessed to have such a pile of great stuff on hand! We had to construct our hugelkultur / raised beds by swiping Christmas trees from neighborhood trash, chopping off branches, then lining the beds with the pieces, weeds, spoiled hay bales, a few limbs we saved from neighbor's trees that were shading our property, etc. (We have no trees. Yet.) Anything helps.

When we found leaves (swiped from neighbors, of course), we just piled them into the raised beds throughout the year, tossing a few shovelfuls of compost or soil onto them to help with break down. Our new (free!) beds are overflowing with healthy plants. Newly interested neighbors are now actually giving us their grass clippings, etc.! (Promises of homegrown tomatoes is a wonderful encourager.)

From the picture, it looks like you have woods nearby. Try scrounging a FEW buckets of leaf mold, forest soil, etc., to further encourage beneficial soil bacterial stimulation. And, there's always those clueless neighbors who graciously bag their goodies for you....

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Yes BeeKind I have access to lot of those stuff. In fact I have so much of those logs cut from the trees I did not know what to do with it till I come across with Hugelkultur.

I have made a beginning from the advice I get from this forum. This year will be bit of an experiment since I will be away for a month.

Next year will make it work.

Thanks for all the advice.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:16AM
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