We are in the process of installing a food forest at a school in Cripple Creek Colorado (elevation 9440'). To mitigate our high winds, we are surrounding the whole area with 6' hugelbeds. We will have roughly 3000 square feet of hugelbeds to plant. I'm hoping to utilize it as a way for students to earn scholarship money--which can be used for permaculture courses, adventurous educational endeavors and standard academic paths. We probably won't be able to plant anything this summer until late July. I have tons of questions, but I'm going to try to hone it down to the most pertinent for this project. Thanks for any help you can provide!
-In order to keep wind-blockage to a maximum as the pile shrinks, I want to put perennial shrubs/plants on the top of the hugelbeds. Can I do this the first year or do I have to wait for the pile to settle before planting perennials? Plants I'm contemplating for the tops--Jerusalem Artichoke, Siberian Pea Shrub, Raspberry, Serviceberry, Comfrey, Rhubarb, Maxmillian Sunflowers... Any recommendations are appreciated.
-The hugelbeds won't have the soil on them until probably mid-July which means we only have about a month (or so) of growing season left. Should we plant a cover crop or should I just mulch for the winter? If a cover crop, what kind? Probably some heavy nitrogen fixers and erosion-controllers with our heavy rains...
Thanks for any input.
When money is the end, organisms become the tool, when organisms are the end, money becomes the tool
I would go ahead and plant anything you wanted. It should all grow, you just won't have the harvest. I have planted mine this spring right after construction and it is doing great. I have strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and all the typical veggie stuff.
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