I'm in zone 7a in coastal NJ, I'd love to be able to grow avocados here, but even the hardiest are out of my zone. Is it possible that the heat of biomass in a composting hugelkultur could shift my effective zone? Is there a way to quantify based on bed size/volume, what zone becomes accessible?
It seems that this is exactly what Sepp has done, but in a more "throw it in and see if it'll grow" type manner.
Thanks (and greetings!)
If you can come up with a viable alternative to insulate the ground you have a chance. This can be done with deep mulching, but it gets financially challenging for more than a couple trees.
Position your hugel bed so it has a south facing slope with good sun exposure and you should be able to get it significantly warmer than a flat bed in the same location. Add a pond (or other reflective body) south of the bed and the reflected sunlight will add to the effect.
Peter Ellis wrote:Position your hugel bed so it has a south facing slope with good sun exposure and you should be able to get it significantly warmer than a flat bed in the same location. Add a pond (or other reflective body) south of the bed and the reflected sunlight will add to the effect.
OK, I don't have the land for a pond, it's really just going to be a conventional 20'x30' garden converted to a hugel bed(s). I've got fallen maple starting to rot on my property, so it seems like a no-brainer. The short edge of the garden is southern facing, so I'm thinking I'll make a few 20'-ish wide mounds with south facing slopes. The garden is fenced to keep the rabbits and gophers out - the 'dept. of making you sad' in my town won't allow the type animals that might keep them in check, and my son is allergic to dogs.
Would rocks on the southern edge of these help retain heat? There is a huge oak on my neighbors property to the east that shades out the morning sun during cold weather months, so maybe some tiles on the eastern part of the fence would retain some heat.
If you've got any ideas around gopher/rabbit management that might allow me to grow outside the fence, please let me know.
They were in sheltered spots near the walls of my house. In an exposed place, they have died, of course.
You could have a tree growing with a cold frame over it, that would be the ONLY way possible (that might work), otherwise it would be not possible.
Or plant it in a large pot and bring it back indoors or preferably to a cool but not freezing shelter, for the winter.