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Author Topic: Hugelasagnardening  (Read 735 times)

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Uncle Bob

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« on: March 11, 2014, 08:58:46 am »
Hugelkulture is the practice of burying logs and sticks semi below ground and mounding soil over the top of this woodpile then growing vegetables on this mound. It is meant to produce healthy and abundant plants and produce with little to no watering required, even in dry conditions.

I would be skeptical of this claim as too good to be true or a practical joke played on the first of april except for one piece of experience. A large bush/tree around 5 metres tall, which was pruned regularly because of having much healthy growth and was basically never watered. This big bush/tree was exposed to howling dry wind much of the year as well, in full sun much of the day but always thrived. I noticed after hearing of Hugelkulture that the roots of this big bush/tree were on one side fusing into an old and rotted big stump sort of under the big bush/tree, so this had been planted right next to the stump cut close to the ground of what was once a huge oak tree but was well rotted by the time I noticed.

The fact this big bush/tree had managed to thrive in such tough windy and dry conditions  needing pruning at least once a year without watering made me think maybe the hugelkulture effect of roots accessing rotting wood really works. It also made me think that the Hugelkulture  (hk) effect is not just for vegetables and small plants but also good for trees.

The problem in Australia with using hk is about all the native trees are Eucalytpts also known as gum trees, and these contain oils or some sort of chemical that retards other plant growth around them and makes them take a very long time to break down. Where I used to live the trees were mostly Jarrah "Honkynut" trees and although that is a  red coloured hardwood used for building and timber industry, expensive these days, It is not really heavy and does get eaten by termites from my observation.

There are 3 main types of trees I have where I live now in Tasmania. Huge Eucalypts, many already cut down from clearing and in huge log piles, these being  a metre / 4 or 5 feet diameter trunks, some even larger. These take several decades to even begin to break down and only in the centre of the trunk not on the outside, this seems to happen even when the trees are still alive with leaves on as they get very old. These big trees are known just as "Tasmanian Hardwood", which is a dark grey you can buy but is expensive. It is clear that it was not always expensive and was formerly found very plentiful. People still burn it for firewood, at around 100$ a ute (pickup) or small trailer load, but I suspect most people just know someone with a chainsaw and get it free or cheap.

Anyway just buying planks for building supply  of this is now expensive. All the small shacks, hardly big enough to call houses that previous generations lived in were all made from this wood. They are still standing all over the place, 100 years old or so, tiny two room  shacks long abandoned but still standing because the wood does not rot. I will get around to taking pictures of some of these to post on up.

Where at least slightly larger basic or bigger houses have been built from this wood people often see no need to keep it painted, again because it does not rot like most wood. That makes it useless for hk then as you want the wood to rot under the soil and roots of your plants. The bark however does seem to break down when it is in the dirt and exposed to wetting after a while, like in a draining area I see it gets soft unlike the wood itself which is rock hard.

I have a lot of Wattyl trees but these are full of oils as well and would not be suitable for the hk. I have pine trees too, mainly on one hill side where it is a lot more rocky, most are healthy but a few are dead here and there so I will use those. Pine is fine for hk.

I could go to hardware stores and buy sacks of pine bark for around 5-10$ bag, but I dont see anyone on utube or doomstead diner doing that and plus factoring driving to the nearest small city 2 hours away and probably finding they have only 10 sacks there since they were not expecting anyone to come and take 30 odd, its probably not that much more time/work to pick up all the wood and bark around the property and break it up. Mainly also because I want to minimize my exhaust emissions as much as possible.

I did have to burn some diesel to pick up a load of hay but everything else was sourced right on site. As the title of this topic suggests, this experimental method of gardening incorporates hk as well as lasagna layers. Heres a series of pictures showing how I compiled it for planting trees in: As agelbert is currently AWOL/MIA hes not around to help fix the picture embedding, so Im afraid you will have to click on the links.

1 This is the only component that I had to go out of my way to get. Load of hay from far away..

« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 03:58:06 pm by AGelbert »


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Re: Hugelasagnardening
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 06:43:33 am »
This is one fascinating thread, UB. I don't know anything about hugelkulture, but it makes sense. Hopefully you'll keep us updated as to the progress of your trees.


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Re: Hugelasagnardening
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 08:30:37 pm »
PP said,
It also made me think that the Hugelkulture  (hk) effect is not just for vegetables and small plants but also good for trees.

It is a pleasure to listen to the thoughts of a  true scientist at work. 

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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