Hi Anna, small world! Good to see you over here as part of Paul's plot to take over the world! ( we could sure do worse!)
I have all the ebooks, as you know,but would sure love a hard copy. (pick me! Pick me!)
My question regards what might be the best berry bushes to plant here in zone 5. Raspberries are a given, but what do you think of elderberries, or some other options? I had hoped to start a hugel bed for planting, but I have no soil to put on it! So I guess that has to wait, or will just be a work in progress for now.
And in reards to that hugelkulture bed, what do you think of using wood chips and bark, in addition to whole logs?
Deb --- Gooseberries and currants are perfect for northerners. I prefer the former because I'm a fresh fruit fanatic, but jelly eaters love currants. As a bonus, I've read (but haven't tried myself) that both gooseberries and currants will fruit in partial shade, which makes them a good fit for forest gardens.
You might try hugelkultur donuts around plain soil. I use that method to expand my tree mounds, which gives the wood time to rot before the plant roots reach it. I don't put soil in mine either, since I don't need immediate decomposition, just mulch it heavily and wait. I'd put down your logs first, then the wood chips and bark over top. That'll be high in carbon, but if you get enough water to it, I'd think the plant roots could start using it in one or two years.
Gooseberries sound great! The donut idea might work... We are just SO DANG DRY that I wonder if anything is going to compost. The kill mulch I put down almost two months ago, under 6-8 inches of mulch and manure is still mostly dry as a bone. Ugh. Doesn't bode well for spring planting.
Deb --- You might try soaking the ground and then the components as you put down kill mulches and hugelkultur. That's what folks seem to recommend in dry climates, and it can't hurt (if you have the water on hand).
Thanks for taking the time to respond. You gotta be busy with many questions. I did soak everything, and water a couple of times after installation. But we've had no moisture. Was counting on the snow to start soon! Keep your fingers crossed!,!!
if you haven't tried black raspberries try them, they are wonderful..I also didn't see mention of honeyberries.. Elderberries are my favorite for jelly, love to make it for holiday giving. as for hugel beds..they would all do find but the runner berries will take over the bed (if you don't mind that it is ok but it might be better to isolate your runners)
Bloom where you are planted.