Dave Burton wrote:Have you tried seeding the hugelkultur bed with any covercrops yet like clover or rye or cowpeas?
keith s elliott wrote:Hi Erin:
I take it that you aren't actually in Vancouver proper, otherwise you would have water. Are you anywhere near a river that you could perhaps pump a few barrels full of water and transport them to your site? I'm not sure of the best source of grass clippings, but I wonder if you got hold of the highways dept. if you could go on to one of the freshly cut medians and help yourself. There must be literally tons of grass sitting there just waiting to be put to good use.
Dave Burton wrote:Will any succulents grow right now? Does anything actively grow in your local area right now? If you can observe these organisms or even get a few of their seeds, maybe they'll help???
keith s elliott wrote:Hi Erin: Well I see that we aren't that far apart in that case if you are on the island. I'm about 11 miles south east of Nanaimo harbour as the crow flies.
I think it's a safe bet that the soil here is worse than yours. There is almost nothing here. But regardless of that, there are still quite a few things growing. The trouble is that with 500 meters of ground to get covered and planted...well, that's going to be quite a chore you have given yourself. I certainly wish you luck with that.
Stuff that grows here includes salal, oregon grape, the small wild roses, hens and chicks (don't know the real name) broom and English ivy of course, but I would rather not have either of those. We're never going to defeat the broom, but the ivy might be brought under control with diligence. But I bet it would make a good ground cover if you were willing to take the chance. If you are fairly close to the ocean, you might also see a lot of arbutus growing. There must be well over 100 growing here, and it's only a 1/3 acre lot. The bigger trees are douglas fir, grand fir, garry oak, red cedar, some alder further down on Ruxton and some of the fast growing junk trees, but I don't know what they are. Now that I think about it, the junk trees are all growing by a wet area just off the end of my property. There's a few Pacific Dogwood trees here as well. The cultivated stuff here includes rhododendrons and azaleas, many Japanese Maples that I have grown from seed, the big white daisies, lilies, a variety of roses, clematis, just about all the herbs, forsythia, bamboos - quite the selection here and they seem to do well and some apple trees. Wild blackberries grow here as well, but don't produce much in the way of fruit, again due to lack of water.
What doesn't do well here is any of the root crops and I think that is a combination of poor soil and huge lack of water.
keith s elliott wrote:
Regarding bamboos, what I did was to do some reading first. Unfortunately most of my library is up in Kamloops and I cannot remember the names of the two best bamboo books I have. It's the old timers setting in again. One in particular is really good and it's about bamboos for temperate climates. Then I went over to Saltspring and got a whole vanload of bamboo plants. Something like 35 all together. I have lost maybe three or four over the years since then. They don't seem to have any trouble overwintering here, regardless of how cold the winter gets, like last winter for instance. But they do like a good drink once in awhile, which suggests to me that a hugel would be a good place for them.
If you were to put a few running 'boos in your big hugel, they would make a great windbreak/hedge. Have you been to the Japanese Garden at Royal Roads in Victoria? Some nice 'boos there.
I could snap a few pics if you like.