hi Paul I'm so interested into apply this technique in a high school i want to know which specific veggies are appropiated to plant? is it recommendable to use eucalyptus logs (also in cases ofold wood, rotted or freshly?) ? and finally do you know how efficient is hugelkultur in andean zone at 2900 meters over the level of the sea?
The types of vegetables you can grow has more to do with your soil types than the Hugelkultur it self. The best thing to do it to plant a lot of different things and see what grows well and what doesn't. If you start to see plants showing specific issues related to nutrient deficienies, then you can amend your soil to improve those condidtions. The wood is really only there to hold the moisture so you don't have to water as much.
I've never heard of anyones experiences using eucalyptus logs in the Hugelkultur, but I do know that eucalyptus is fairly rot resistant, which will not be very good in this case. If you have wood that is partially rotted already that you could include with the eucalyptus, that might help. You really want wood that is going to start to rot soon. If you use eucalyptus, don't expect to see any significant moisture holding capacity for the first few years.
Hugelkultur isn't really going to be effected by the elevation. Sepp Holzer's farms have been around the 1500 meters above sea level, and it works great for him. If really has to do with how much rain you can capture and store in the beds. There isn't really a way to measure the efficiency there.
I have to agree with Tom's assessment on the types of vegetables. Eucalyptus would need to already be decomposing before it would be a good candidate for a growing mound. As far as will it work, yes it will work.
If you were to excavate some of the terraces the Inca built, you might find evidence of wood or some other vegetative material having been placed at the bottom, then covered with soil to set the level of the terrace.
I know that studies have shown that less water was needed to grow crops on the terraces than crops grown on level ground.
It would be interesting to know if they used what is now called Hugelkultur.
I do know that my ancestors, and Nations towards the east coast, used growing mounds extensively in some places. We have used this method since before the white eyes came to turtle island.
There are some differences in what is now termed Hugelkultur and the methods of building them that are used by us, but they are minor differences and mostly how the mounds are built up. We lay layers as opposed to Hugelkultur's stack wood and cover.
I have noticed no difference in the way these work for water storage and release to root systems.