Hugulkultur Bed - (pics)

coconut_head(5b)April 24, 2012

Here is a hugulkultur bed I built a few weeks ago. Will be planting Pumpkins, Squash, watermelons and cucumbers in it. The cucumbers and Zucchini (trombonico) are vining and will be grown on the north west side of the bed on a trellis system I plan to install along the entire NW side. The pumpkins and watermelons will be planted halfway up that side as well but allowed to roam up over the top and down the SE side. The plants should run south and east towards the sun, that is direction most of the pumpkins grew last year in the same spot (minus the hugelkultur bed)

Digging begins, I dug out 60% and piled the dirt on the other 40%

Raked that potrion out into a smooth bowl shape.

Added the big logs.

Smaller sticks on top. I had a mix of really decayed stuff, newer stuff and slightly aged stuff.

Sod laid upside down on the wood. All the wood was maple or apple.

I also put a couple wheelbarrels full of 85% done compost on top of the sod and in around the gaps and edges, was running out of daylight so I focused on working instead of picture taking. This is with the first 60% basically finished.

I finished in the dark, here is a finished picture from the next day. The bed runs from where I am standing NE to the end of the bed is SW. But more N-S than E-W if that makes sense. I gues you would say it North/NE to South/SW.

How did I do for my first hugelkutur bed?

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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day c/h,

looks pretty good from my end, you went to a lot of effort and it will return, for me as i can't do all that digging i will be laying my tree material on the ground surrounded by corrugated roof width as height material.

my toughest task chain sawing and moving hardwood tree material.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens straw bale garden

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Thanks Len!

It was funny, as I kept working into the darkness my wife actually uttered some words I never thought I would hear. She actually suggested I stop working and come inside!! I was on a mission to get that thing done though as we had somoe nasty weather approaching and I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish it in the coming days.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Post us some end of the season harvest pictures, would like to see them.

I just dug in some Hugulkulter beds also in heavy clay soil, didn't use any compost. Hopefully it'll work ok.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:55PM
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Will do! As well as next year, as I hear the bed gets even better after a year of the wood decomposing.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Here are some updates. This First from a few weeks ago, and then more recently (yesterday)

And the more recent ones:

I did notice yesterday on our second day of very hot weather (between 90 and 95 degrees) that some of the plants in the bed seemed to be wilting pretty heavily. I risked it and mid day watered because I forgot the wood underneath was probably at this point wicking the water out of the soil from below as well as the regular loss from above. The plants didn't burn and they were back to looking great when I got home from work. For this season I'll have to try to water them a little more frequently, especially with such shallow rooted water hogs in the bed(Pumpkins, cukes, zukes, melons, squash.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:20PM
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dieseldame(Central TX)

Wow! I was just seeing what was new, since I haven't been here for quite a while. Thanks for the pics and info, as Hugulkultur is completely new to me. I have a huge amount of material bulldozed 20 years ago that I've been harvesting what's useful from and trying to figure out how to build swales with the rest (erosion prevention). I'm now going to start researching this so I can understand it better.

Again, thanks!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:03PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

don't need lumber as such any prunings that need shredding will do.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens straw bale garden

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Thanks coconut_head for the pictures.
Just posted some pictures of my own results with hugelkultur.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hugelkultur result pictures

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:24AM
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Nice job. I am late to the Hugul club. I am prepping beds now.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Great to see !
...and especially that you did not put cardboard in the ground as advocated by so many !

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 9:37PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I'm new to this type of planting. My friend uses cardboard. What are the pros and cons of using it?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 4:35PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I get the impression that they are supposed to be taller and steeper than that.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Great thread! I am interested in trying this on a very small scale. Anyone ever heard of hugelkulture being done with only branches and smaller (1' diameter or less) cuttings?

I dont have any downed trees, but I have a couple cottonwoods that drop branches regularly and this would be a great way to get some value from them!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 7:39AM
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As I understand it,the larger logs extend the time bed stays activly in the process of rotting and acting as a reservoye for nutrents. I think useing the limbs is an exelent idea.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 10:38PM
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I've done it small scale beneath a planter I installed. Please note: I built it in spring of 2011, the height of the drought in Oklahoma. I watered only twice. Plants never died and I had volunteers (still do).

I dug into the clay about 12" as far as I could go. Then, I place small logs, twigs, branches and I think I even tossed in some newspaper I had lying around from another project. Just anything I could find that fit.

I put the dirt back in. Then, I added fence-line dirt that contains leaf mould ... my best "yard" dirt.

No deaths. Note it is in an area that is shaded from the blazing afternoon sun. It helped kepe the plants from burning up. It really works!

It is my absolutely best garden bed. Every time I rejuvenate this planter with moisture it just thrives.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 2:20AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

ours are working wel 18 months in.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 3:55PM
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My hubby and I have bought some land that has a gully, caused by erosion. There are also many fallen trees in various stages of decomp. I wonder if it would work to drag the trees to the gully and build a hugul-bed there? Its about 4 ft. deep and 20 ft. long. What do you think?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:56PM
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wonderful picture progression first year Hugels are know for their ability to pull massive amounts of nitrogen out of the soil...Read on another site that many are suggesting planting potatoes, because they require little nitrogen. one suggested leaving them to over winter....Beckygrowsit...The only thing that might be a problem heavy runoff, It could displace all your hard work. But, if the runoff is mild it would give a good water source.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:07PM
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What is the trellis made out of? I have a 3' by 30' area along edge of my backyard that I want to do this in.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:04AM
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Hugulkulture beds really should be sown with a deep rooted green manure the first year or so, to increase the organic content, as a soil binder, and to help fortify bacterial activity. Not that you did anything wrong, but lettuce and squash are not exactly "give back" crops for all that hard work you put into it. Might try sowing red clover as an understory/cover crop to some taller crops the first year with your next one, if so. Just a suggestion.

Nice neat job on the bed, btw. Ours are not nearly as neat.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:09PM
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