105 foot long hugel bed hedgerow

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Daron Williams, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Daron Williams

    Daron Williams New Member

    Jan 25, 2018
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    Restoration Ecologist
    Olympia, Washington, USA
    USDA Zone 8 - Temperate Marine
    I just finished building a 105 foot long hugel bed on my property. I thought I would share it as an example of a hugel bed and I'm going to document how it grows and changes through this first year, and through the following years. The hugel bed runs along a shared dirt road and part of my parking area. It is not planted yet but I have a bunch of native plants coming in at the end of next week. A big goal of this hugel bed was to create a hedgerow or living fence that would provide privacy, create a barrier to keep deer out and my son in (his play area will be next to it), and provide habitat for wildlife.

    The hugel bed is around 4ft high in the middle and around 5ft wide at the base. The picture was generated automatically by google photos and unfortunately got the pictures out of order. The ones showing the bed mulched are the newest pictures. I will be adding a temporary deer fence around it once it is planted to give the plants time to get established and grow tall and thick enough to stop the deer.


    For my planting plan I consider the front side of the hugel bed to be the side along the road facing south and the back side facing in towards the rest of my property facing north. The front will be planted with Nootka rose to form a thorny and relatively sort thick barrier. In the middle/top I'm planting mock orange and red flowering currants except near existing fruit trees (a large pie cheery tree and a small nectarine tree). Near the fruit trees I'm planting snowberries in the middle/top since they stay shorter - the thought is that the branches from the fruit trees will just reach the top of the snowberries making a fairly solid barrier. Along the base of the bed on the back side I'm planting cascara (native tree - 25ft tall) which will be the tallest plant. In between the cascara and up a bit from the base I'm planting osoberry (Indian plum) and tall Oregon grape. I'm also adding a mix of native lupines to the front of the bed in a row above the Nootka rose and below the mock orange and red flowering currants. For a ground cover I'm also adding native wild strawberries and I will be spreading California poppy seeds later in the year. Once the first plants get established on the back side I will add some salal which does well in shade and produces edible berries and is an evergreen to fill in any gaps.

    I'm also adding the above plants to my existing 125 foot long hugel bed that I built this time last year that my new bed connects to. All in all this will hopefully result in a 230 foot long hedgerow that I never need to water. The two beds were built differently, so it will also be interesting to see how they differ over time. The existing bed is more of a buried hugel bed but it is still about 3ft above ground too while the new bed is fully above ground except for a few large conifer rounds that I partially buried. The area where the existing bed is located was an old parking area so it was heavily compacted which led me to build a buried hugel bed in order to deal with the compaction.

    In the pictures you will notice a wet area along the hugel bed in the parking area. This drains very quickly once the rains stop but I will be adding wood chips and planting it with clover to minimize any water issues. But since it drains really quickly I'm not too worried about it. The water that runs along the dirt road is later diverted into a large mulch basin that empties out into my property.

    This bed was built by hand using a shovel, pitch fork, and wheelbarrow. Took me quite a while to get it all done but it should prove worthwhile.

    Hope you all find this interesting and I will be sharing more pictures and info as the beds grow this year and the following years.
    mischief, Jason_H and grantvdm like this.
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Nov 21, 2009
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    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Cool mountain
    Hi and wow! That looks great!
    I'm wondering if you are goingto need to protect it somehow over winter, with...something-mulch to stop it from rain/snow damage-dont know what your winters are like.
    Are you going to sow it down with a cover crop of some kind over this period til your next grow season?
  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Sep 12, 2013
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    gardening, reading, etc
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    it will take a few years to settle in and then gradually sink as
    the wood decays.

    in 10-15 years it will be about a foot high and the plants will
    have set up shop.

    deer hedge, hope it works and helps. we still get a few that
    wander through if they find a gap in the sorta fences we have
    in places. the main veggie garden is better defended with an
    8ft fence.

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