So I believe this is my first post here. I've enjoyed reading all about permaculture and we have now officially taken our first (baby) steps into using some of this for our own garden.
After we moved recently onto a property in Nashville, we discovered that while we aspired to growing most of our food on our own land (we have almost 4 acres) the dirt is a dense clay and is only about 8-10 inches deep in most places throughout the property. So we decided that if we can't go down, we must go up instead.
We built our first hugelkultur bed right outside our back door over the last few weeks, starting with wood from a tree planted back in 1901 (massive logs) and piling on some logs we inherited on the property that were partially decomposed. Finally it was a load of black dirt on top. We have a local tree service dumping piles of wood chips (as much as we want) that we are using for mulch on top. The Hugo's are around 5-6 ft tall and we are planning on building them in the shape of a concentric circle to get a variety of interesting climate zones.
But now that we have a few of these built we have another challenge ... what should we plant? Right now I'm starting with our seasonal garden needs and the traditional garden veggies but I feel like I should have a better plan for longer term on these beds.
Does anyone have suggestions on what to plant in the southern US Zone 6-7 where we live? Or even resources where I can find ideas?
You can plant just about anything you would normally grow.
Tubers like potatoes will need to be near the bottom so as you mound the soil over the growing stem.
We have not had great success with growing carrots or beets on our growing mounds, not enough soil depth is the cause.
As far as design for planting, depends on the sun orientation of your mounds as to what to plant where.
You may find that planting in squares on the hugel is a good way to go, or you may find that your plantings can be food forest like and mixed in together.
Look to Mother Earth News for garden layout ideas as well as books at the library. You can also do a search for Food Garden design(s) and several seed catalogs show layout ideas.
corn works great when planted low or at ground level on the north facing part of an East/West hugel, that way the stalks don't shade other items from full sun.