More Hugulkultur Updates and Repurposed Materials from the City Compost Facility — 17 Comments

  1. Ingenious pond! Some horsetail and soapwort around it would make you completely self-sufficient for cleaning products. You’ve obviously spent a lot of time and hard work on your place since the beginning of the hugulkultur series. It’s really paying dividends.

  2. Most excellent use of the pieces of wood – placing them on a contour line is what I had to do at my place because of the lack of rock available. The swales are now about 5 years old and have settled-in quite well – with a planting space ‘on top’ of the contour line (above the wood pieces – at about 2 foot wide) and pseudo-sheltered planting space on the leveled portion behind the contour line (each varies from 6 to 8 foot of planting space.
    I did have issues with significant run-off before – no run-off now on the sloping piece of my property.
    Very good presentation – keep up the good work and thanks for keeping all of us informed of your progress.

  3. Dang Jack!
    Your place is looking great, I love seeing the before and after videos very inspiring. Keep up the great work!

  4. Jack, I guess you’re gonna just dump soil over these wooden mounds, leaving a significant amount of airspace down below. Is this intentional and/or desirable? I made a large hugulkultur bed this spring, putting down a layer of wood at a time and then filling most of the airspaces with soil, compost, peat and manure, and watering thoroughly before adding the next layer. Just curious if I should have left more air? Seems to be working well so far, the buttercrunch lettuce LOVES this bed and other crops are passing through adolescence. Thanks for the update, Doug.

    • @doug_ks,

      You know it seems to me that no topic is more over thought than hugulkultur out of all the topics I have ever covered. You are not going to leave much air space no matter how you do it, the dirt will largely fill in. Over time holes develop as settling occurs and wood rots, as it does you just heap on my compost and humus or in some cases recharge. Don’t sweat this stuff, hugul is basically burring wood and growing stuff in it, just do it and try different stuff, then do what works best for you with your resources and in your climate.

  5. Nice work Jack. Any chance of using some of that wood for shitake? Provided you like them!

  6. Jack,

    Could you explain more the benefits of having the small little ponds you are building . . . I thought having small ponds of still water was a bad thing to have around due to attracting mosquitos etc.

    • I’m not Jack but I’ll take a stab at it.

      Ponds make excellent predator habitat for frogs, lizards, and birds. One important aspect of natural pest managment is to favor predators and confuse pests. So the more little niches you can make where predators can live, bath and hang out the less pests you’ll have. For mosquittos putting a couple of small fish in there should help keep them down. I remember from Mollisons PDC DVD he talks about vietnam I think and basically how there is water everywhere but no mosquittos because any body of water, no matter how small, has a fish in it.

    • Well done Moonvalleyprepper,

      Also as this pond is so small and still (15 gals but more likely only holding about 8 due to the rock displacement) I am not sure if fish are going to make it. My plan is to use BT dunks, let it stabilize and toss a couple gold fish in after we return from Montana.

      If you can get ponds like this supporting fish that eat mosquito larva you end up with less vs. more mosquitoes. Consider that mosquitoes are going to breed, it is going to find water, they even use tiny pockets in well watered lawns, mud puddles in wood lots, they will breed in a discarded tin can or even the plastic from around a pack of cigarettes carelessly discarded, in all those areas they will be successful.

      Instead they lay eggs in your little fish ponds, the eggs and any larva that hatch are consumed. Hence the reproductive energy is lost. The female now has in her mind (if a mosquito has such a thing in our concept of it) and flies off to complete her life-cycle (dies).

      Like Moonvalleyprepper said though the goal is creation of predator habitat in two ways.

      1. Direct which Moonvalleyprepper explained perfectly

      2. Indirect which he alluded to. It creates micro climates of higher humidity, so even animals that don’t directly use the pond may be attracted to the edge zone between average and higher than average humidity.

      In the end it is all about the edge, one tiny pond add many new edges, likely a few we haven’t really even thought of yet.

      • The ponds have had me wondering too. First, I wonder if they would create habitat for me, since the nearest water to me is 1/2 mile away. Second question– if such would be beneficial for the property, could they somehow be discreetly done with greywater, say laundry rinse water? Can’t have cattails sticking up– too obvious– but something like soapwort and such might work. I’ve plenty of access to Big R– think Tractor Supply, very similar– and so can get various tubs and such. Rocks are no problem– I’m forever chucking them over the fence.

        • @Lidia Seebeck

          You can use ponds to clean gray water, using reeds, etc. I recommend Geoff Lawton’s DVD “Urban Permaculture” to learn more about how.

          On the distance to the nearest water, well the less water that is around the more value your water will have to creatures and critters right?

  7. FWIW I am a big proponent of more volume of less “quality” videos. The iPhone videos are fantastic. Of course I put quality in quotes because the content quality is far more important then the Audio Visual quality. I would even take a stack of old Polaroids is if ment we could get content more often.

    Last fall I went out and buried a 5×20 foot plot about 2 feet down of logs and told my family “next spring this is going to rock!” They all think I am bat poop crazy so any content that help me make this thing work is good.

    TL;DR +1 for the iPhone videos.