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Thoughts on gardening earlier

 
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I've been browsing through both Gaia's Garden and Eliot Coleman's The Winter Harvest Handbook.

This fall I want to set up a horse shoe shape garden in our bed using hay as the structure and filling it with hugelkultur material.

My thoughts are, would be it be possible to start planting everything in, say, mid-March or April in this bed, cover it with row cover and greenhouse plastic and get stuff to grow? (Thus keeping stuff that doesn't like uber wetness dry, and hand watering if need be).

Just trying to figure out if that would be hot enough to allow me to start melons, tomatoes, peppers, etc earlier.


Thoughts?
 
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
hugelkultur trees chicken wofati bee woodworking
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Are you talking about shaping it like a sun trap?  So the open end of the horseshoe is facing the south?

I think that by building a raised bed, you do get to plant much earlier. 

And by making a really tall raised bed, you get to plant much earlier still.

And by making a sun scoop, the stuff in the middle gets to be planted much earlier still.

And, of course, some species, like peas, are planted much earlier than other species.

Is this the information you were looking for?

 
eems reeses
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Yes, the horse shoe shape will be facing south. I thik the bed will be rougly 3.5-4 feet high filled with really warm decomposing wood mulch. I guess I was just wondering if the combination of hugel+rowcover+greenhouse plastic would allow me to start peppers and tomatoes in April? They should move the bed a couple of zones south, right? I know tomatoes need roughly 70-80 for germination and six hours for sunlight.

In other words.... stupid idea that won't work....or go for it?
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I think that if you build the bed six or seven feet high, it will be three or four feet high within a year.  It would then be much warmer from the breakdown the first year, but on the second year and beyond it would offer a lot more water to your plants without the need for irrigation.

I think I wouldn't mess with the rowcover stuff.  Instead I might try to use a cloche to start things a little earlier.

Go for it!


 
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