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Potatoes at the base of a hugel mound

 
Jamie Wallace
Posts: 82
Location: Lantzville, Vancouver Island,BC Cool temperate, Lat. 49.245 Zone 8a
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Hi all
I built this kugelkultur bed a few months ago and posted about it on this thread Hugelkultur bed with a twist
Well some time has passed, I now have approx 90 squash seeds that have germinated on this bed which I find hilarious. The soil I placed on top of my beds was a mixture of horse manure and some clay. I've been composting horse manure in windrows which we add our household veg. scraps to. These piles were kept good and hot, around 140 F for months, some how these seeds survived this?
The next funny event was the pile started to become active after it was placed, whether is was the pile been moved and turned with some rotten logs (carbon) beneath I'm not sure. This mound heated up at first to around 90 F which was great, hence the early successful squash germination. Then things got a bit out of hand as the heat kept building to 120 F at which point I irrigated the area heavily. The temperature has gone down to 85F so all is good.
A few observations from this bed so far:
A) A slightly active raised compost based planting area can give you a huge head start on direct seeding, other direct seeded beds are weeks behind.
B) I had some extra seed potatoes which you can see are quite happy and I've added a few more rows on some very hard low quality soil but their sitting on some lovely compost and I plan on hilling them with the same.
C) Potatoes are perennials which we treat as annuals for the most part. Has anyone used potatoes in a food forest or hugelkultur setting? I would be very interested in hearing what a long term 3-4 year old clump would look like.
Thank you for your comments.
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Adding more potatoes
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A few weeks after the bed construction
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Some peas that did not survive the active pile
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Pie
Posts: 3545
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Looks good Jamie! I am hoping to build my first big hugel this summer and potatoes are on the list for planting. I will leave a few in as perennials so we will see what happens.
 
Dan Tutor
Posts: 103
Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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Potatoes do really excellent in huguls. Last year I planted a smaller hugul with potatoes and companions and had a great harvest. This year I'm planting them on the tops and sides of big huguls. They are already up and looking good, even after a late hard freeze a few days after planting. I haven't tried making a perrenial out of it though.
 
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