I put in my first (container) garden this year, and it's doing well enough. While surfing the 'net for info, I stumbled over a few sites describing hugelkultur. Well, heck, I have a tractor and whatnot, and it sounds like a great idea, so starting yesterday evening, I dug in a bed.
Second layer, nice pre-rotten cottonwood.
Third layer, neighbor's grass clippings, yard waste, and etc. That's four scoops from my little Kubota compressed into the bed of my crawler.
Now, I know that I should soak it well with water before burying it. I don't have any manure, but I do have a few lbs. of ammonium sulfate. Should I go ahead and spread a pound or two over the pile to boost the nitrogen?
You don't have to throw any ammonium sulphate on it unless you plant to plant it with a high feeding crop, like corn. If you still have time in your zone to plant winter squash, try that. I have had some nice results with July hugels that I have planted to butternut squash.
Sepp Holzer recommends planting right away but speaking from experience I would dump as much water for as long as you can to saturate your mounds so as to promote deep root sets and minimalize the need for irrigation. Also it is good to see the mounds with a poly culture that will have a variety of root depths especially something with some serious root length to it so as to help pull up the moisture hidden down within. It looks like you did an excellent job layering so I imagine the rest of your plans will turn out stellar as long as you continue on that path. Happy hugelkulture and please keep us updated!
It doesn't look like you added any soil between wood layers so there will be a lot of settling as the voids fill in. Water well, fix up the surface depressions, and cover crop with clover till fall planting.
I didn't put any soil between the layers, but my layering plan was large, non-rotten material on the bottom, small non-rotten material in the middle, rotten wood on top of that, followed by my neighbor's grass clippings and yard/garden waste.
Watering and laying down some clover sounds like my next move. Thanks for the advice.
I ended up just planting a few raspberry canes on it and some clover and grass, and then I let it go for a couple of years. After just lying fallow for a couple years, I covered it in black plastic over the fall and winter. At first I was a little pissed when I saw the vole tunnels. Then I stuffed a shovel in right to the hilt with almost no effort. Nice. Nature's little roto-tillers.
Just a few things randomly planted on it. Strawberries, onions, yellow peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and potatoes to go with the raspberries. All unplanted areas are covered now with composted wood mulch.