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Just Getting Started

 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Based on the advice from someone in another thread of mine (a thread which I cannot seem to find now), I was advised to get started by digging a 4 ft wide trench and filling it with wood. So last weekend I did just that - 4' x 12' x 10 inches deep dug with just a shovel and sweat. I filled it with a mix of some dead wood that was lying around the property, a bit of eastern red cedar and the rest was some hard wood and a thin layer of dead grass.

I plan to dig a few more of these over the course of the next couple weeks, but I guess what I'm curious to know now is what's next? Should I just plant some vegetables into the dirt and wait or what? I'm totally new to this whole gardening thing. I've done a lot of reading on the net but it's mostly theories and principles and not a lot of information on the practice of permaculture.

Some things I'm especially interested to know is:

1. What will the plants eat? I mean I know most farmers use chemical fertilizer, but being that I'm not going that route, what will take the fertilizer's place?

2. Should I be looking into cover crops? I've heard those mentioned a lot so I'm curious to know about it. What cover crops should I be looking at for my Spring vegetable garden?

3. Where is the best place to buy seeds? I found a website, sustainableseedco.com, that has some Texas heirloom seeds (I'm in Texas BTW) but they don't have "Texas seeds" for all the vegetables I'm wanting to grow.

Any other tips will be greatly appreciated!
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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You need to keep the hugelkultur covered with mulch.
Adding manure/urine would be a great idea.
Make sure that you have enough dirt so that when it settles the hugelkulture is still covered. Water it deeply for a few days to check.
I would alot of N-fixer aka peas and beans.
Anything with a good root structure to grow thru the hugelkultur down to the original earth to get any missing stuff.
So for the 1st year I would stick to a edible pasture seed mix (daikon, beans, peas, mint family, sunflower, etc).
The next year I would start adding my fruit/nut trees, but if you cant wait I say go for it.
 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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S Bengi wrote:You need to keep the hugelkultur covered with mulch.
Adding manure/urine would be a great idea.
Make sure that you have enough dirt so that when it settles the hugelkulture is still covered. Water it deeply for a few days to check.
I would alot of N-fixer aka peas and beans.
Anything with a good root structure to grow thru the hugelkultur down to the original earth to get any missing stuff.
So for the 1st year I would stick to a edible pasture seed mix (daikon, beans, peas, mint family, sunflower, etc).
The next year I would start adding my fruit/nut trees, but if you cant wait I say go for it.


Thanks. That's exactly the type of info I was hoping for. So when you say plant beans the first year, does this include both the green beans and also other beans like red kidney and pinto beans?

Also, are sunflowers and mint Nitrogen fixers or do you suggest those for another purpose?

About adding manure, is there any special kind I should be looking at? I don't currently have any since I don't yet have animals so I'll need to buy it.

As for urine, I'm sure I could manage that, does it need to be diluted?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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It would be best to dilute in a 10:1 ratio.
Any type of manure would work.
The mint, sunflower etc are not N-fixers they are there for attracting good bugs, roots etc.
kidney and pinto are the same species of beans.

Here is a good list of edible beans/peas, takes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean
Currently, the world genebanks hold about 40,000 bean varieties, although only a fraction are mass-produced for regular consumption.[9]

Some bean types include:
Vicia
V. faba or fava/broad bean

Vigna
V. aconitifolia or Moth bean
V. angularis or azuki bean
V. mungo or urad bean
V. radiata or mung bean
V. umbellatta or ricebean
V. unguiculata or cowpea (includes the black-eyed pea, yardlong bean and others)

Cicer
C. arietinum or chickpea (also known as the garbanzo bean)

Pisum
P. sativum or pea

Lathyrus
Lathyrus sativus (Indian pea)
Lathyrus tuberosus (Tuberous pea)

Lens
L. culinaris or lentil

Lablab
L. purpureus or hyacinth bean

Phaseolus
P. acutifolius or tepary bean
P. coccineus or runner bean
P. lunatus or lima bean
P. vulgaris or common bean (includes the pinto bean, kidney bean, caparrones, and many others)
P. polyanthus (aka P. Dumosus, recognized as a separate species in 1995)

Glycine
G. max or soybean

Psophocarpus
P. tetragonolobus or winged bean

Cajanus
C. cajan or pigeon pea

Stizolobium
S. spp or velvet bean

Cyamopsis
C. tetragonoloba or guar

Canavalia
C. ensiformis or jack bean
Canavalia gladiata or sword bean

Macrotyloma
M. uniflorum or horse gram

Lupinus or Lupin
L. mutabilis or tarwi
Lupinus albus or lupini bean

Erythrina
E. herbacea or Coral bean
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Brandon, Try not to use chemicals. Also be careful where you get your manures they can also contain pesticides that pass through the animals. So cover crops are best. Try clovers and lupines, Potatoes, Sunchokes, Almost any other veggie you want to try. Many "weeds" are also OK, they will be helping to build the soil. It may take a year or two for the bed to settle and get really going. You may see mushrooms at some point too.
 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I'm having trouble getting my hands on some mulch to cover my mound with. Is there anything I might can find on my land to act as a mulch? Maybe dry leaves or dead grass or will those blow away? What about cardboard? So far the area is very small so I don't need a lot of mulch

Wyomiles, are you suggesting planting a cover crop in place of mulch?
 
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