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Digging my first hugel bed

 
marc dostie
Posts: 7
Location: Jersey Shore, Zone 7a, annual rainfall 46"
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I'm trying to fight analysis paralysis with respect to my garden, so I've gone out and straight away started digging a ditch in my sandy, compacted soil to bury a rotting maple and some other fungus bearing logs. What should i plant in the berm for the winter here (zone 7a, ~45" annual rainfall)?
I'm thinking clover and vetch, and maybe trying some fruit and nut tree seeds.

I'll be putting in a few beds that will (spring) be planted with nettles, cabbage, carrots, squash, comfrey, various lettuces, a goji bush, potatoes, beans, arugula, asparagus, strawberry, tomatoes, onions, and paw paw.

I'm going to plant them out in guilds following the companion planting guidelines I've seen. But for now I'm just going to put in the cover crops (vetch / clover). Any input good or bad is much appreciated. Thanks All!
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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Why wait until spring for the veggies? Here's a list of winter hardy vegetables and their hardiness temperatures:

15°F (-9.5°C): Some beets (Albina Verduna, Lutz Winterkeeper), beet leaves, broccoli leaves, young cabbage, celery (Ventura) with rowcover (some inner leaves may survive at lower than this), cilantro, endive, fava beans (Aquadulce Claudia), garlic tops may be damaged but not killed, Russian kales, kohlrabi, perhaps Komatsuna, some covered lettuce, especially small and medium-sized plants (Marvel of Four Seasons, Rouge d’Hiver, Winter Density), curly leaf parsley, flat leaf parsley, oriental winter radish with mulch for protection (including daikon), large leaves of broad leaf sorrel, turnip leaves, winter cress.

12°F (-11°C): Some cabbage (January King, Savoy types), carrots (Danvers, Oxheart), multi-colored chard, most collards, some fava beans (not the best flavored ones), garlic tops if fairly large, most fall or summer varieties of leeks (Lincoln, King Richard), most covered lettuce (Freckles, Hyper Red Rumpled Wave, Parris Island, Tango) , large tops of potato onions, Senposai, some turnips (Purple Top).

10°F (-12°C): Beets with rowcover, Purple Sprouting broccoli for spring harvest, Brussels sprouts, chard (green chard is hardier than multi-colored types), mature cabbage, some collards (Morris Heading), Belle Isle upland cress, some endive (Perfect, President), young stalks of Bronze fennel, perhaps Komatsuna, some leeks (American Flag), Oriental winter radish, (including daikon), rutabagas, (if mulched), tops of shallots, large leaves of savoyed spinach (more hardy than flat leafed varieties), tatsoi, Yukina Savoy. Also oats cover crop.

5°F (-15°C): Garlic tops if still small, some kale (Winterbor, Westland Winter), some leeks (Bulgarian Giant, Laura, Tadorna), some bulb onions (Walla Walla), potato onions and other multiplier onions, smaller leaves of savoyed spinach and broad leaf sorrel.

0°F (-18°C): Chives, some collards (Blue Max, Winner), corn salad, garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, Vates kale (although some leaves may be too damaged to use), Even’ Star Ice-Bred Smooth Leaf kale, a few leeks (Alaska, Durabel); some onion scallions (Evergreen Winter Hardy White, White Lisbon), parsnips, salad burnet, salsify, some spinach (Bloomsdale Savoy, Olympia, Tyee). Also small-seeded cover crop fava beans.


If you throw a few of these seed in with your vetch and clover, you may be surprised at what comes up and thrives during the winter.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1302
Location: Central New Jersey
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Thanks John. That's an interesting list. I'm also near the Jersey shore and similarly in 7a or so. I've already put garlic in the ground for a head start in the spring, not expecting it to do anything over the winter. Likewise Sunchokes (with one of each variety I bought put in the greenhouse to see if I can get them growing during the winter) are in the ground not expecting them to do much until spring.

Distributed a "game plot" mix over a fair portion of my bare/partially covered ground to see if that will do anything helpful.

Now you've got me considering whether I should be putting in a bunch more stuff
 
marc dostie
Posts: 7
Location: Jersey Shore, Zone 7a, annual rainfall 46"
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Thanks, John. I think I'll try at least a couple of those. It's nice to know there may be some hardy enough options for my zone - winter always seems to be a depressing waiting game as far as the garden is concerned.

Peter - nice to meet a 'local'. If you find any permie groups or meetups, let me know. My wife's been talking about getting garlic in the ground here as well, but I've got big holes in the garden at the moment
 
marc dostie
Posts: 7
Location: Jersey Shore, Zone 7a, annual rainfall 46"
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Regarding the trees - I have a newbie question or two. I've never planted fruit trees before.

1. I don't have a lot of space (1/4 acre), so I'm concerned that any fruit tree I start from seed is going to be a spitter (and wait a few years for it at that). Any guidance on growing from seed then grafting if I don't like the fruit vs. starting from rootstock / transplant (no tap root 'goodness') from the start? From what I've read so far, it seems that most apple trees for example are grafts to ensure palatable fruit. Rootstock is cheap, I'd just assume send it through hugel bootcamp and plant a new one if they don't make it.

2. When is the best time to plant an apple tree? I've heard fall & spring, should I wait till next spring? Does rootstock vs. seed change things?

3. If I start from rootstock, is it OK to plant it into the hugel bed, or should I give the tree space to root away from the wood?

I'd like to be able to plant below this tree, at this point I'm thinking of trying an M-9 (dwarf). Also thinking of putting these inside a fenced garden area (16'x24') on smaller hugel beds. Think I can get away with an M-7 semi-dwarf? Maybe try a bunch of M-27s?

Thanks again for the input!
 
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