I just finished my first hugelkultur and now I'm thinking about starting a small food forest. I must be mad! Behind our garage is a small field of weeds. then on the edge of the property are fruittrees. The area I'm thinking have two old apricot trees. Next to the garage is an almond and at the east end is a apple tree I planted this spring. My family doesn't want me to put wood chips down in this area (who knows why, no one mows, or waters or does anything with this area.) I recently ordered wood chips from our local tree service. I asked for 3 loads, and the 3rd load is bigger the the first two combined. While laughing thinking what have I gotten myself into, I got the idea to use this space that does nothing but grow weeds that dry out in the summer looking barren and neglected, to grow a small food forest.
I was thinking I would mow the weeds as short as I can get them. Should I try to put cardboard down? I don't think I have even close to enough to cover the area. I will spread the chips down and see what happens. I would love to grow artichoke, and asparagus, and things I don't have room for or didn't want to take up space for year round, maybe plant a lemon and grapefruit semi close to the garage to help protect from frost (lost our lemon tree a couple years ago) I think this idea is a win win because even if the food forest part doesn't pan out at least it will smother the weeds and improve the soil.
I do have a concern about the garage. Should I put tin on the bottom of the garage to keep the wood from touching the wood siding. The garage is detached from the house so I don't have to worry about that, but I don't want to rot the wood, or give the garage termites. Are there other concerns or persuasions I should take?
If I do this I should be planting some of the stuff I want to plant soon. Even though there will be no benefit, except the mulch to keep the water that I manually place from evaporating,(I always thought we had good soil for growing just about anything) Is there any harm in planting a few winter garden items in the beginning with the proper soil amendments? I understand it takes a two or three years for the wood chips to do there magic, but I don't want to wait that long to get started.
I have probably lost my mind. I have at least 4 major projects I want to accomplish in the near future, I work full time and its been hot a Hades, now I want to do this. My son said I need an intervention the other day, and I said "hay it could be drugs" He said "gardening is your drug mom" I think it's more like my therapy, but maybe he is right? Either way I would love any feedback and knowledge you would like to share. Thanks.
Thanks we love mushrooms. I will have to do some research to see if they will grow in our area.
As for the wood chips I was going to try for about 8". I think the weeds will just grow through less. I figured I would treat it like my hugel. I pulled the wood back until I found dirt, making a kind of well. I filled it up with a combo of soil, compost, chicken manure, and a bit of organic fertilizer. (My hugel is brand new) I planted my whatever, Then I covered around the plant. If a plant seeds I won't cover it, until it has a chance to grow a bit. Much to my surprise the pumpkins I planted in my new hugel are doing great so far.
The weather is hot and dry. I live in zone 9b. I will have to water. Thanks for the information.