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The Many Benefits of Hugelkultur

Discussion in 'Homesteading, Horticulture, Permaculture, Prepping' started by Laron, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. Laron

    Laron Healing Facilitator & Consciousness Guide Staff Member Administrator Board Moderator Creator of transients.info & The Roundtable

    Here is a great short article explaining what Hugelkultur are. I have included a few images below from the article to demonstrate how these are implemented: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur.

    "Hugelkultur are no-dig raised beds with a difference. They hold moisture, build fertility, maximise surface volume and are great spaces for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs."



    Hugelkultur_0.png

    sepp.jpg
    hugel bed wood.jpg
     
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  2. Stargazer

    Stargazer Realized Sentience Staff Member Board Moderator

    Excellent post, Laron! I learned about this from Clif High a few years back. I use the concept myself in my own back yard, although not quite to the extent of building such a large berm. I do place logs and sticks and compost in my beds when I plant them, just so they're slightly raised. That way, as they break down, they can aerate and fertilize the roots of the plants above. It's an AWESOME system!

    :)
     
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  3. Laron

    Laron Healing Facilitator & Consciousness Guide Staff Member Administrator Board Moderator Creator of transients.info & The Roundtable

    Have you ever taken any pictures of your setup at home SG? I think that the first time I learnt of this was also from Clif.
     
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  4. Stargazer

    Stargazer Realized Sentience Staff Member Board Moderator

    The following photo is a bit of the yard I fenced off from the dogs so I could keep them from digging everything up. That sorta worked (they still work the edges a bit). :rolleyes: Then the drought (and our incessant heat) pretty much killed most of my new plantings off. :(

    The good thing is that the bulbs still come up in the spring! :)

    What you can't really see is the wood and debris under the topsoil. Everything is dug down about 12" and the topsoil itself is about 12" above the ground level.

    IMG_3122.JPG
     
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  5. Linda

    Linda Sweetheart of the Rodeo Staff Member Global Moderator Administrator Board Moderator

    I like this idea, and so would all my wildlife visitors. :rolleyes:

    It reminds me of the Native American tradition of planting 3 crops together - the 3 sisters.

    Corn comes first and provides the strength.
    Squash stays close to the ground and helps it retain water with the shade of the big leaves.
    Beans wind their way through the other two, keeping them together and enriching the soil with nitrogen.
     
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  6. Lila

    Lila Boundless Creation Staff Member Global Moderator Board Moderator

    I've planted a few of these now, since we seem to keep moving :((:rolleyes::fp
    As a result of being busy moving I put in a minimum of time and effort so my versions started pretty basic, then added to as I was able.

    The basic plan, as I understand it is to have a layered system where large, more solid items below are topped by sequential layers of increasingly finer material that gets more nutritious as you go higher up the berm. I have locally sourced free layers of:
    - large branches/small trees topped by
    - smaller branches and leaves topped by
    - straw and compost topped by
    - the finest soil I could find (this I have sometimes paid for)
    Because you do it on top of the dirt of your garden, all the lovely composting creatures can easily come join the party (for free!)
    Like Stargazer , I also dug down for my first layer, then found that it settled a fair bit over time, to become a lower berm.

    The basic idea, as I understand it, is that the stuff is constantly composting from below. This means the plants you put on top have every incentive to reach their roots down into the soil below which is kept warm, moist and nutritious. Less watering, deeper roots, more exchange of nutrients, more warmth for the roots; all great for gardens.
    I also found that much less weeding was involved. Still not clear why but loved it!:-))
    The quality of the soil is incredible.
    As I'd started it all with minimal effort I now think of it as represented by the equation: Berms = Max gain for Min effort.

    I believe that something similar used to be termed 'wet composting', though the berms add some fine features. They are higher and increase the space available for planting for one thing, with maximum utilization of sunlight, plus less bending over is involved because of their height. The layering of more solid items below seems to keep the composting going on for longer, though I did keep adding material periodically.

    For my next version I plan (hope!) to add an area for digging compost scraps from the kitchen + garden back into it. It needs to be easily covered with dirt so the critters can't get at it. Built in recycling :)
    First, I have to figure out a way to get over my reluctance to clearing some shrubs (small trees that have no room to grow) in order to make room for the garden.
    Perhaps, for my reluctance, I'll take a page from Henda 's canary who sings to its lettuce and gets its blessing before starting to eat it:-D

    I also just read a post on adding coils of hose to the composted layers below, which can apparently heat water for an outdoor shower:cool: I can believe it. Compost heaps can generate a lot of heat! In cool weather they are often steaming.

    Love berms <3<3<3
     
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  7. Stargazer

    Stargazer Realized Sentience Staff Member Board Moderator

    Wow...I LOVE the outdoor heated water/shower idea!! Yes, I've had compost bins before and they do definitely heat up! Great ideas, Lila!

    :) Thank you!
     
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