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mini hugel planting suggestions

 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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Did a strawbale garden two yrs ago, three raised beds last year and now I want to take all that soil and what I am making in food scraps and build 5 30 ft long mini hugels that will look kind of like raised rows in a garden. I have small branches galore I can weave as the core but I am picturing about 1 ft high rows of soil mounded on branches to provide some sort of moisture retention hugel action-breakdown to feed the piles. The surface I am working on right now is previously churned gravel/clay and some compacted grassed soil, I would plant in a more favorable part of the yard but I live between forests and this is the only part of the yard that gets good sun for any length of time. Someday hoping to move to better land as far as growing stuff is concerned but for now doing the best I can with what I have where I am.

Wondering if anyone can lend some companion planting advice as I have a rough idea of what I want to grow but a hard time knowing what to put where on my plot.

Here is my idea so far, I am zone 5 SE Wisconsin and I get direct sun from roughly 10am to 4 pm from the south until the trees block it.
I have about 35 different seed types from a kit I bought.
south


onions------carrots-----------beets----------cabbage---radish (shortest items)

lettuces--------peppers--------basil----------daikon radish---various herbs tbd (taller)

east broccoli--------cucumber------zucchini ---watermelon west

Brussels sprouts------swiss chard----moocow dry beans

------------------------Tomatoes----------------------- Canteloupe(Tallest)



North


A pretty ambitious garden for us, but the family is growing and need to keep feeding these kids good food so they grow up big strong and healthy.
Let me know ideas of what you would change




 
Julia Winter
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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It looks good, not sure why canteloupe is in your "tall" section! Are you making multiple beds, or one giant bed? I think building raised beds is a good idea for dealing with your soil. My advice is to have beds that are 3-4 feet wide so you can reach to the middle easily. I would also vote for breaking them up into 10-12 foot long beds, so you don't have to take a hike to get over to the next one.

If you were to ask our fearless leader (Paul Wheaton, this is his forum) he would advocate for really tall hugel beds, like, 6 feet tall, with curvy shapes and random orientations. This will create a multitude of microclimates. Typically one would seed this with a mix and allow the various plants to come up where they like it the best. This would take a lot more woody material than it sounds like you have, however.

As long as you can identify the seedlings (this comes with experience) mixing things up is helpful for avoiding pest disasters. However, if you are new at gardening, planting your seeds in rows will help you identify them from unwanted plants. Think about adding in support species, like an insectary mix from the seed catalog, maybe in patches in every bed.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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Thank you!, one group of 5 rows, probably going to move by the time a big hugel gets up and running, just trying to get some of the hugel benefits in a raised rows kind of layout. I like your idea of an insectary mix, I will check out ideas for that. The biggest insect pest we have here is Japanese beetles. I bought 1/4 lb of four o clock seed that are supposed to be irresistible and poisonous to them. Going to plant those gratuitiously through the yard and see how they do at keeping the beetles off my beans and broccoli.
 
Julia Winter
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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Japanese beetles are terrible. I had some luck by collecting them in the early morning and feeding them to my chickens. If it's still chilly, you can get them to drop into a bucket of water (with a drop of dish soap to keep them from floating) by jiggling whatever they've gathered upon.

Their favorite thing in my yard was wild grapevines, which luckily were growing all over the chicken run. They also did a number on my apple trees, even damaging fruit, and they ATE my sour cherries one year! (I had a big bird net over the tree and was waiting for them to ripen, not looking very closely.) I was so upset when I finally got up close and saw what they'd done.

They love roses and green beans, too. I think I remember that planting the grean beans late helped me out one year, but now that I try to tell the story I can't see how that helped.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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got some broccoli and onion seed started, it's probably going to be another long cold spring if the great lakes are as frozen over as they are again. Not going to jump the gun on getting seed sprouted but those should be good to get ready this early.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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Well mother nature surprised me this year, it's mar 16th and not much snow to be found, lakes are still thawing but it was 62 today and got some great progress done on the little hugel rows. Made the mistake of stacking all my soil where I wanted the rows to go so that meant lots of shuttling soil by hand. One more day should give me 5 rows of nice dirt and mulch covered branches to start soaking up the moisture and get ready for planting in april. Seeds are sprouting under some fluorescent lights in the basement, got great germination, most of the seeds I started have popped up, except for the basil.
 
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