Permaculture Literacy – HHA

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11 Comments

  • Hannah Challis says:

    We have lots of pine trees so obviously lots of pine stumps, cones and needles. Is it OK to use any of them in hugelkultur or should they all be avoided?

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    • Bret James says:

      Yes pine it totally fine! Hardwoods will last longer BUT the whole point is to use what is available on site 🙂

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      • Hannah Challis says:

        Great! It´s just that in the video it said we may want to avoid pine due to the high levels of tannins and lots of sap…

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        • Bret James says:

          Hey Hannah!

          To clarify a little further, technically it is true and correct that pine has tannins etc that possible could inhibit plants if in excess, BUT here is the thing…

          Most plants will see more positive benefits from a hugel setup with pine that without. The plants roots should be in contact with soil, and the soil acts as a buffer between the two. The composting process takes care of the issues of the pine, including soil PH.

          So, yes if you have hardwood choose it over pine, but if you have pine and hugel is something you are wanting to do, don’t let that stop you. I would simply ensure that there is a reasonable layer of soil on top of the pile of wood and you should be fine.

          Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment.

          Everywhere I read said pine was bad for soil – so I made a giant compost pile with all sorts of pine based carbons to test this out. In the end everything I read / heard about pine being acidic, bad for soil life etc turned out to be not true. It made great compost, full of soil life and even the PH at the end of the process was 7.0!

          Reply
  • Jane Sears says:

    I have a lots of large stumps (mostly pine but I do have some maple and ironwood). Could I use these?

    Reply
    • Bret James says:

      Jane, yes decomposing trees are fantastic habitat for animals, I leave shorter dead standing trees just for the woodpeckers for example. Stumps could be made into all sorts of things – garden bed edges, cut out to be planters and more! In terms of Hugelkulutr – if you can bury them and you are in a climate with moisture, then yes.

      Reply
  • Eric Sheley says:

    I love this idea! Cant wait to give it a try!

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  • Lee Raynor says:

    This is a great concept! I’m wondering whether I could use old hardwood fence pailings?

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  • susan tupper says:

    I like this idea for raised beds as it provides greater surface area too

    Reply

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