Raised bed the Hugel way

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Primrose
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Only just caught up with the May edition which mentions raised beds mostly filled with logs then covered with compost which is apparently called the Hugel method. (Page 14. Www.wildhomesteading.com/hugekultur-beds.)


Have never come across it but recall the mountains of soil Pa Snip described having to order for his tall raised beds and i can see a lot of sense in it.

Anybody tried it?
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I've heard of it but that's about all! Pa Snips beds were proper raised to accommodate the next generation but I can see the sense in prepping for the future of not being able to get back up from weeding, but it would be cost prohibitive to fill all & when you consider a lot of what we grow don't have a long root run except the carrots & parsnips you maybe could push the boat out for one designated fully filled proper bed saved for them & fill the bottom of the others for other crops that deffo have to have a rotation?
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Stephen
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I understand the idea but the labour and cost involved in construction strikes me as prohibitive.
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Tony Hague
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I have tried it.

Dug a hollow, put in some partly rotten pear tree, an ash trunk, some stumps etc. Covered with a layer of green waste, then soil.

The results have been unexciting either way. I had my reservations; wood, especially hardwoods, takes a long time to decompose when completely burried. Also the fungal decay can deplete nitrogen whilst it is going on - though it is released later. Thinking about this, I grew dwarf beans on it for their nitrogen fixing capability, but also beetroot, spring onions, and now strawberries. Can't say I see any definite difference to plants grown on the flat. It does avoid waterlogging like any raised bed. It does not seem to greatly reduce the watering requirement.

Ramming a fork in, after 4 years I still hit fairly hard lumps of wood. I will keeo using the bed as is, but probably wouldn't make another.
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Tony Hague
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Just to follow up on my experiment.

Another year or two on from the last report, I decided actually things were doing worse on this bed than on the flat. It didn't seem to need less watering in a couple of very dry summers, if anything the opposite.

So, I dug it up. Despite ash wood being a type that rots easily, and the pear already having a head start, it was hardly changed by years underground. This isn't really surprising; fully buried, wood does not decay in any useful timescale. This is why we have preserved Viking ships ! The logs do attract the attention of burrowing rodents though who made cozy homes amongst it.

Considered opinion: terrible idea, save your energy.
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Primrose
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I read about this with curiosity a while back but couldn't really see the point unless you had a large pile of logs to dispose of. Without access to oxygen and the elements they could take for ever to rot down.

The only advantage I could see is that if you had to have really high raised beds for disability reasons this system reduces the need for huge amounts of expensive soil or compost.

Having said that, always interesting to discover different approaches to growing things.,
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xir5hEVrfM

I did this video last year, not sure if you can still get the compost from the council tips as I believe a lot of them now sell the stuff to companies making peat free compost. One word though, my sleepers at the bottom are starting to rot a bit, you might want to line the edges with plastic sheet so they are not sat in wet all year.
Been gardening for over 65 years and still learning.
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My new neighbours use this & are quite the advocates of it; however looking at their results from this year they did not seem very spectacular. When they took on the plot they used the hedge row trimmings to put in the beds, which worries me considerably as some of the bushes in the hedge row just don't die & will shoot from any little bit dropped & left & if you don't spot them they are hard work to remove as quickly root deeply. I would think they would also grow if buried as quite the tough guys.
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