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Citrus fruits in a hugelbed?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Galicia, Spain
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We are putting in our second Hugel, size and orientation below, in the hope that the higher ground and French drain in front will prevent the flooding we have experienced over the last couple of years.  Soggy ground prevention aside, the orientation is as below and I thought of making it curved to give some diffent aspects tot he bed and to act as a slight sun scoop.
My questions are - what to plant in each of the 6 zones.  We were thinking that we could risk citrus as the sloping southern sides would be facing the winter Sun.  We are zone 9b but have experienced rogue frosts in the last few years and the field south of the bed rises 7 metres over 30 metres and can get rather frosty and remain so even after everything else has thawed.  The ground never freezes, we get snow for a few hours once or twice a year and we always fleece our fruit trees overnight in winter just in case.  I thought we could also include soft fruits.
But what to do on the colder sides?  We are at lat 43 to give you sone idea of sun angles.
As always I would be grateful for your suggestions.
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Posts: 192
Location: Western Washington
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Some citrus, like Yuzu, can take frost and snow just fine. Trifolate orange is supposed to be another good option. I grow both here, in zone 8. I think citrus would be just fine on this bed, depending. Also the hugel bed will generally be warmer for a number of reasons. Mine are so active biologically even in winter that the snow on them melts ages before everywhere else.

Some feel that planting trees on a hugel is risky, because they worry that the tree can't properly anchor itself with wood in the way. I leave gaps between the logs large enough so that some larger roots can grow between them and anchor. Yes, it might reduce the "core effect" of having a large bloc of wood at the center, but that's ok. I planted at least one tree in a hugel this year (a dwarf cherry) and it did fantastically well. It was noticeably more drought tolerant because of it.
 
Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Galicia, Spain
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Thanks James Landreth
That was fast work! Good tip on leaving some gaps - will deffo do that. Will source those fruits!
 
gardener
Posts: 2450
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I heard of a mandarin orange that can handle 4F.  It's called Changsha.  I know very little about it but that could solve some of your problems.
 
Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
pollinator
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Location: Galicia, Spain
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Mike Jay wrote:I heard of a mandarin orange that can handle 4F.  It's called Changsha.  I know very little about it but that could solve some of your problems.



Thanks Mike Jay
 
Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Galicia, Spain
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As an update, thought you might like to see some pics. I had to tidy an area of logs and cuttings so I  have sort of arranged them so they intertwine for stability and will be chucking all our dog mess over them cos otherwise it goes into doggy bags and in the village bin. Less plastic !  Now we wait for the diggerman, Jose Tractor, and the plumber, Tony Taps, to come and get the drainage in. All the soil (a vague term for what we have here) will go over the wood and we will jump up and down on it to work it through. My friend with a horse is collecting manure that I can incorporate and I am considering putting our humanure at the bottom to continue its composting. That and a good covering of woodchips and leaves held gown with gorse and scottish broom cuttings over the winter should do the trick. Now its just trying to work  out what to plant...

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Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Galicia, Spain
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Just an update on our sunscoop Hugel bed.  As you  can see we have some drainage work going on in front of the bed. The plan is to dig a big sump in the corner of the space and run a french drain down to our pond as this can get severely flooded in late winger and spring so we hope this will make a difference. Also a planned for effect, the hugel structure will hold back some of any surface water that builds up. We have had to replan the whole site because of flooding - the food forest is now an orchard dedicated to growning staples such as corn, beens, squash and potatoes, with other bits and bobs inbetween of course such as all our onions, garlic  and soft fruit dotted about. Our garden will now be our food forest with room for campers in between tne trees and a small pond and sitting area. The pig barn and field are coming on a pace with some laid hedging and freshly restored stone walls thanks to a couple of workshops held in the summer. I have popped in a little winter wheat in front of the polytunnel now the tomatillos, squash and corn are cleared and in every other available space are going broad beans which do so well over winter. Phew!
Do give any thoughts on our project, I so love it that there are so many of you out there who know so much!
Hope all your Thanksgiving celebrations went well yesterday.
Mandy from La Vida Verde in Galicia!
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gardener
Posts: 5065
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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For using a hugel as a sun trap for growing things like citrus, I like to build them at least 6 feet tall so the trees I plant at the base of the hugel get as much residual heat as possible.

While trees might do well if planted on the hugel, it has been my experience that once the wood starts to really decompose the settling causes the trees to tilt.
While this isn't a big issue on flat lands perhaps, it can be disastrous on my land which is a mountain with winds up to 60 mph.
Because of that and the ancient hugels I saw in Germany that had trees planted about 2 feet from the hugel base, I plant trees near the base of the hugel but not on the hugel.

Redhawk
 
Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
pollinator
Posts: 202
Location: Galicia, Spain
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Thank you Redhawk. Yes, I had been thinking the same.  I am going to put rocks around the inner edge to rretain the height  and heat of the bed then put the citrus in front of the rocks. We have builders starting one the ground floor of the house this week - they have to dig out about a foot of rock and dirt - guess where that's  going!
 
That's my roommate. He's kinda weird, but he always pays his half of the rent. And he gave me this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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