Hello, I am new to this forum and am looking for help.
I am an organic farmer in the Kent Valley and just completed construction of a hugel mound yesterday and really want to plant it right. I have perennial plants ready but want to maximize the use of the zones most effectively. The mound is running east to west, 132 feet long, 11 feet at the base, 5 feet at the peak over a trench which is 5 feet wide by 2 feet deep with about 45 cubic yards of trees and branches compacted below sod and soil with about 1/3 covered with composted chicken manure. Among the plants I have are 8 blueberry, about 30 raspberry canes, 8 artichokes and 10 stevia which have all been grown in containers or raised beds this year. My actual goal for 2014 is to establish a CSA based on permaculture for up to 100 members on the hugel mound and adjacent 1 1/4 acres and on a 1/4 acre strip I have dubbed the "organic showcase garden". The only breaking of ground I have done is the hugel mound on a farm which has not been planted since the 1970's.
I welcome advice and truly indeed would love some help developing the CSA. Come on down to the farm and be a part of the solution!
Welcome Ron. What sort of machinery did you use and what type of wood ? I can't offer experienced advice on what to grow, other than plant what sells. It might be best to have any perennials near the middle and annuals near the edge.
There's a wealth of information in the hugelkultur section. You've probably heard of Sepp Holzer. If not, then Google him.
Ron I am going to think about this answer for a bit. I have always planted raspberry canes and the like out in early spring so I'm hoping you have some time! I will caution you that a one hundred person CSA of a quarter acre mound and a broad acre is going to require quite a bit of work and creativity to accomplish. You've come to the right place though. How's you're soil? It was all horses and strawberries down there until the 50's right?
I would suggest as many different brassicas as you can find. Two reasons: (1) this is the perfect time to be planting brassicas and (2) they are one of the few plant families that do not form mycorrhizal associations, and can still flourish while the new fungal communities are getting established in the mound.
If you include a lot of mustards in your selection of brassicas, they may suppress nasty fungal diseases like Fusarium in the soil, making planting next spring go much easier. The research on that has not demonstrated it convincingly, but numerous positive results have been reported. (My own experience has been positive.)
Thank you all for responding! The pictures attached will answer equipment used and some of the process. We rolled up the sod layer in a 5 foot bucket then scooped out the soil to about 2 feet. We then put whole downed trees, logs, brush, unrolled the sod upside down and capped it with the soil and compost. There is a 3 attachment limit so I am posting twice.
I'd stick comfrey in a couple of places. It makes great mulch, compost accelerator, fertilizer tea, etc.
Do you have any herbs growing anywhere already? I've had success with taking a chunk of already successful herbs (oregano, Monty, thyme, chamomile) and tucking it in. Also the edible wild things like lamb's quarters and sheep sorrel.
The brassicas are a good idea. I had a mustard on a hugel that was spicier than any I've ever had. It was like wasabi. Kale overwinters well here. Where are you located? In not familiar with the Kent valley.
Really, I think it's best to plant the heck out of the thing and see how it goes.
I'm in your area - here is what I would add:
tops: annuals like squash, fava beans, sorrel, strawberries, asparagus , daikon (early or nice rooting stuff)
mids:garlic, leeks, onions, potatoes
bottom/base: potatoes, kales, aronia berry, dwarf apple and pear, turnip,