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Sustainable Alternatives: Hugelkulture in Containers, does it work?

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frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 26, 2011
12:27 PM

Post #8716534

I am thinking of trying Hugelkulture in a plastic tub, and I am wondering if any of you have tried it and how it worked?
Any experience you might have with this will be appreciated.
Josephine.
Yuska
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

July 26, 2011
12:51 PM

Post #8716572

Something else I've never known about...please suggest a reference. I'm looking to expand container planting.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 26, 2011
1:14 PM

Post #8716611

Here is a link to the basic concept;
http://permaculture.org.au/2010/08/03/the-art-and-science-of-making-a-hugelkultur-bed-transforming-woody-debris-into-a-garden-resource/

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

July 26, 2011
1:55 PM

Post #8716695

I know several people who have, with great success. I'm thinking my next bed will be done in that fashion, and I have some downed large limbs that have been on the ground a couple of years.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 26, 2011
2:10 PM

Post #8716727

Darius, have your friends tried it in containers?

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

July 26, 2011
3:06 PM

Post #8716844

I've only heard of doing it with rotted/rotting logs. I don't know how effective it would be in containers, but surely worth a try using twigs in the bottom.

I think one of the things that makes it effective is logs/limbs in the process of deterioration have increased microbe populations to aid in breaking down the soil minerals to a form the plant roots can uptake.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 26, 2011
3:27 PM

Post #8716866

I have some partially rotted branches that I am keeping as a log pile for the wildlife, and I was thinking of using some of those on the bottom of a large plastic tub with holes in the bottom.
I think it should work, but I was wondering if someone has experience with doing it that way, anyone?
GardenSox
Sacramento, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 28, 2011
10:14 AM

Post #8720992

Frostweed, just out of curiousity, why put it in the plastic container? What would be the advantage of that over what you're doing now with the log pile?

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 28, 2011
11:26 AM

Post #8721104

Well, the pile that I have is not very big and also I need to keep that space free for moving around it to reach other plants.
I also like the idea that in the container the sides won't slope down, and the fact that it will be portable, allowing me to have it in the kind of light the plants like best.
Of course this is a small experiment, but it will be neat to see what happens.
GardenSox
Sacramento, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 28, 2011
11:49 AM

Post #8721132

Thanks for explaining that. I hope it works out for you.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 28, 2011
12:16 PM

Post #8721183

Thank you, I will be reporting how it worked our when I get it done. In the meantime if someone has experience with it please let me know.
Josephine.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

September 16, 2011
11:59 AM

Post #8811106

So, Josephine...how did it work out for you?

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

September 16, 2011
3:01 PM

Post #8811352

Please check in a few days i will be posting what i have been doing.
TXbabybloomer
Dayton, TX
(Zone 8b)

October 6, 2011
12:22 AM

Post #8837887

I'm excited to hear the outcome also. I have several piles of limbs and larger branches I would like to use for something besides a burn pile.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 6, 2011
5:20 AM

Post #8838017

I am sorry, I have been extremely busy, but i promise that I will post the results as soon as I can.
Josephine.
FeatherJack
Poland, ME
(Zone 5a)

January 20, 2012
10:45 AM

Post #8975471

There's a very good discussion of hugelkultur here: http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

hugelkultur raised garden beds in a nutshell:

grow a typical garden without irrigation or fertilization
has been demonstrated to work in deserts as well as backyards
use up rotting wood, twigs, branches and even whole trees that would otherwise go to the dump or be burned
it is pretty much nothing more than buried wood
can be flush with the ground, although raised garden beds are typically better
can start small, and be added to later
can always be small - although bigger is better
You can save the world from global warming by doing carbon sequestration in your own back yard!
perfect for places that have had trees blown over by storms
can help end world hunger
give a gift to your future self

...
SoFlaCommercial
West Palm Beach, FL
(Zone 10b)

February 5, 2012
1:49 PM

Post #8995747

okay - did a hugelkulture today with a tree we cut down last week. my concern was that it was green wood, but i should have been concerned that it was pine. i put the entire tree logs, branches, needles, and cones and piled on the dirt on top.

i'm wondering now, though, if i can even use it for food - since it gets full sun after 10 a.m. (9 in summer), was hoping to put strawberries, melons, or squash, but now I am wondering if ornamentals will have to be put there...

anyone have any experience with pine?

thanks.
FeatherJack
Poland, ME
(Zone 5a)

March 9, 2012
12:55 PM

Post #9035978

[quote="SoFlaCommercial"]...should have been concerned that it was pine. i put the entire tree logs, branches, needles, and cones and piled on the dirt on top.

i'm wondering now, though, if i can even use it for food - since it gets full sun after 10 a.m. (9 in summer), was hoping to put strawberries, melons, or squash, but now I am wondering if ornamentals will have to be put there...

anyone have any experience with pine?

thanks.[/quote]

I don't (yet), but I don't see why the pine would present a problem. Do be aware that you may want to supplement with N -- the wood will tie it up the first year.

Try http://www.permies.com/t/17/permaculture/hugelkultur to ask lots of people smarter than me. ;)

Good luck!
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 15, 2012
4:08 AM

Post #9043309

FeatherJack: You might want to top dress with alfalfa pellets, or plant an early cover crop of legumes to cover the nitrogen used up by green wood.

http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_a/a-129.pdf

[Urine is also a source of nitrogen, but you might not want to use it on a vegetable bed - its a matter of personal taste--ah, er, preference.]

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 15, 2012
8:08 AM

Post #9043567

gloria - thanks for the link, it answered some of the questions I had about nitrogen fixation in legumes.
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 16, 2012
5:49 AM

Post #9044693

Now that Ive read some more about using urine as a source of N2 in the garden, one MD says that humans would not be safe to eat. We concentrate the toxic wastes that we are exposed to and these toxins are excreted in urine. It contains lead, mercury, plastics, petrochemicals, along with the N2. So its not a good idea to use urine on beds used for food production.

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