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Cover crops on a hugelkultur?

 
John Gray
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What do you folks think? I'm building a hugel mound in about a week, cover crop ideas? just winter rye vetch for this fall winter?(they could be chop n dropped as a cover for the mounds) and what if it were covered in clover during the spring with transplants just stuck in amongst it? tillage radish?
 
Alex Brands
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I think the big strength of tillage radish as a cover crop is to break up hard soil, which is not likely to be the case on a newly prepared hugelbeet! There is some concern with nitrogen tie up in the early stages of the wood decomposition, so something nitrogen fixing is a good idea. Vetch and clover are both good candidates. I like vetch because it so reliably self seeds, but it can crawl up and over other plants if they are too small.
 
John Elliott
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I've found that clover does really well on a new hugelbeet. It's such a good fodder plant, if you have any animals, it will really cut your feed bill.
 
John Gray
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great thanks, was thinking of tillage radish just to get more organic matter into the soil rather than do what its name suggests, the soil atop a new mound being loose. Would that be a good idea?
 
John Elliott
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John Gray wrote:great thanks, was thinking of tillage radish just to get more organic matter into the soil rather than do what its name suggests, the soil atop a new mound being loose. Would that be a good idea?


Well, the hugelkultur is already going to have lots of organic matter from all the decaying wood, and as you say the soil will be loose. So tillage radish is not really necessary -- unless you really like eating radishes. Americans really don't know what to do with radishes. Maybe throw a few slices into the salad mix. Mexicans don't really know either -- put them on the side as a garnish along with the scallions and the roasted jalapenos. Now Koreans, they really know how to cook with radishes. Here's one of my favorite recipes:

 
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