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I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

Posted by wertach 7b SC (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 14:39

Then it dawned on me that I have used this method before without realizing it!

In 1981 I bought a 50 acre piece of land that was mostly pine in the area that I was planning to build the house on.

I had the pine harvested for pulpwood and hired a bulldozer to level and clean up the area. He just piled up the stumps and scrub trees along with the dirt in a low spot. It was about a 20' high and 30' wide mound.

After I moved in to the house about 8 months later, I was out at the pile in spring and I could feel the heat coming from the pile. Not really hot, but warmer than the surrounding area.

I had plenty of Martin gourd and pumpkin seeds that I had saved, so I just went around the mound sticking them in the dirt. They came up fast and grew like crazy.

Then after the weather had warmed more and I had my regular garden in. I put my extra tomato and pepper plants on top of the mound and stuck in a few bean, squash, eggplant, and seeds of other things randomly around the pile.

I didn't water, fertilize, or take much care of the plants. Everything on the mound did much better than my garden that I carefully tended. But due to the bulldozer work my garden didn't have much topsoil.

I had truckloads of Martin gourds and pumpkins. Too many tomatoes and peppers. I gave the to friends, family, and food banks.

Then I got a divorce and had to sell, so I don't know how it would have done the second year.

I have bunches of fallen, rotting, large tree branches, and several whole trees, mostly oak, sweet-gum, and hickory that I have to clean up when the weather warms.

I think I'll dig a hole with my backhoe, bury them and cover and see if it works!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

There are some good hugel articles on the Permaculture site. We put leaves, fire wood size pieces of trees, dried grass, old vegetable plants, vegetable and fruit peelings and egg shells on our compost pile and make it a hugel the next year. Manure is recommended on the top of the pile. We have only used Black Kow so far and we grew some nice plants on our hugel.


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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

I think it's a great method if you have the stuff, which you do. You are basically growing plants on a fungal mass. The threads of mycelium produced by wood-inhabiting fungi provide nitrogen as the tissues decay.


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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 7, 14 at 21:04

Two things:

1) the vegetable hair roots get into the wood. I had noticed that also with smaller chunks of wood buried in beds. If you worry about nitrogen, please notice that vegetables go out of their way to get into wood.

2) it is amazing how fine and broken down the soil becomes within a season. I think it is due to mycelium filaments, not readily visible by the human eye, running all over the place. This was tough clay, and the four logs (about 2.5 ft long and 5 inches wide) were placed as the sides of a square, yet the soil was finely tilled all the way to the center of the square. Each four logs was a newly planted fruit tree taken down by deer, so I was able to check this many times. No, it was not the tree roots which were small.


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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

So out of curiousity, if I take the wood left over at the end of winter (that stuff in the back on the bottom has been in the shed too long) and bury it with a bit of the neighbor's horse compost, would that be hugelculture?


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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 11:15

yep.


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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

400 years and still humus -- was just reading and looking at photos of how the posts buried upright in a 2 1/2 foot deep trench to form the palisade wall at Jamestown was unearthed beginning in 1994. They found perfect log shaped areas of loam in the native clay.

wertach -- that's a cool story about the veggies on the pile (sorry about the divorce part, though) I hope your new pile works every bit as well as the first one did!


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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

Do you know if it's okay to bury trees that have poison ivy vines growing on them?


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RE: I've been reading about Hugelkultur and I'm interested

Sorry, I really don't know if the poison ivy would hurt or not.

Maybe someone will come along with more knowledge!


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