I've got some pieces of cottonwood that were intended for some fairly orthodox hugel beds. but then I picked up an order of fruittrees, some of which are bare root and need to get in the ground. so I've been digging bigger holes than I normally would and dropping some cottonwood in the bottom. I seeded the whole mess with flowers and veggies and mulch plants. certainly not the standard hugelkultur, but I'm curious to see how it works out.
with our exceptionally well-drained sandy soil, transplanted trees generally need some water their first year, but I'm hoping to avoid that in the future.
in the planting pictured, I forgot to add mushroom spawn before I buried the wood, but I'll do that in the future.
plants used: quince, seaberry, gooseberry, low blueberry, jostaberry, spearmint. these will crowd each other before long, but apart from the quince, they're all pretty flexible plants, so I'll lean them away from each other and use them for vegetative propagation. that should take care of crowding.
Thanks Tel. I always enoy your posts, especially since we live in the same region, you give good advice and you also grow fruit and mushrooms. I've also been cutting poplars/cottonwoods around my farm lately to get more light into my main orchard and I'm also using the logs and chips for mushroom cultivation. I'm surprised by how vigorously the poplar logs and chips resprout after cutting and even chipping. Even small chips resprout rootlets before the oyster or king stropharia mycelium munches them. Some oyster-inoculated logs resprouted numerous white branchlets after months in a dark closet. I just pull them off.
Because of the vigorous resprouting, I've been hesitating to use fresh poplar logs in hugelkultur. In fact, I always use older, more rotten logs as nurse logs, as my fruit trees and bushes can utilize the old logs faster. But I'm guessing that resprouting won't be a problem for you since you've buried your logs pretty deep and your logs are from native black cottonwoods, not hybrid poplars like mine probably are. Keep us updated and as always, good luck with all of your projects!