I work for Catskill Animal Sanctuary and am getting ready to put together a small scale educational garden using the ethics of permaculture. We have access to some felled trees so I'm looking to do some mounding on slope (Hugel) It's maybe a 20' x 25' space that gets a good amount of sunlight. I also have access to plenty of dirty, chickenpoopstraw, goat/sheep poop and cow manure. I plan on mulching with straw.
Now to may main question, and can anyone offer a newbie a little guidance of any of what I have already said seems off anywhere.
What would be a good system to plant. Our founder would like some tomatoes eventually, so I'll install a lattice for them, but I want to know what guilds you think will be good. We are situated near a pond if that helps, but its several hundred yards away. Do have access to that stuff that grows on the surface.
I was thinking "Three sisters" But would like Kale, salad greens, maybe some roots/tubers (we do have groundhogs) Garlic, Onions, Basil and other herbs. I would love to have some Comfrey as well. Please load me up with ideas.. Im a bit stuck!!!
This might give you some ideas.
Couple of years ago I laid these logs on contour on the south slope of a hill and put a few yards of soil on the downhill side. If you have willing hands and shovels or even scoop a trench with a rototiller so much the better.
The closer you can get the logs to be buried the better. Mine are just dropped on the spot (still better than the fire pile). On contour to catch and hold the water.
Last year I planted turnip, daikon and other things but didn't get enough mulch on to keep things from drying out. I only get there weekends. Only the two named did well.
This year I planted the same but was ready with enough mulch and also planted carrots, kohlrabi, rutabaga, green beans, kale, bush pea, winter squash, zucchini, chard, pumpkin and more I can't remember. Just walk along and every step or so drop in a few seeds. Choose another type and come back the other way planting every few steps. See what grows well in your soil. Ours is very alkaline - no tomatoes for a while yet.
Also very important are the chamomile, sunflower, nasturtiums, marigold, and wildflower mix also planted in the same manner(I didn't plan them, it's what I had on hand) as well as the turnip from last year that I let go to seed - they bring in many good insects and help to confuse the bad ones.
A lot is sprouting but it's been very dry this spring, we'll see what makes it.
In your case I would be putting your manure on the uphill side of the logs for the first few years, let it compost and improve the soil while leaching through to the downhill side then get some perennial fruits going. Be ready with about 5x the amount of mulch you think you'll need.
The riding mower has helped a lot, chopping mulch (straw, leaves, grass) en mass. Just lay down a row and chop it up, directing to the log.
As a refinement I took the lawnmower with a de-thatching blade and roughed up the soil on downhill side. Then spread alfalfa, clover and buckwheat seed down(and mulch), the idea being to replenish the mulch by the logs easily by cutting the grass and directing the clippings at the log and hoping to keep some of the crabgrass at bay.
Wow that's a wonderful response, thanks so much. I had some ideas about planting flowers in the area as well. Looks like you have a well thought out system, I'd be interested to see it develop. I especially appreciate you mentioning the mulch and manure ideas, as well as how and what you planted. Very cool, I'll see what I can turn up!