Matt Leger wrote:Hey all,
Happy Saturday! Hope you all are having a great weekend so far! :)
I wasn't sure if I should post this in the Hugelkultur forum or in this one. I settled on the Fruit Trees forum since what I'm doing right now with my food forest is more related to fruit trees than it is HK. I think! As you'll see, they are both closely intertwined though.
Here are a couple videos documenting our adventures in planting fruit trees:
A couple things to keep in mind as you watch:
1) We have been at this property a little less than 2 years now so if progress seems slow, it's because we're still trying to get a footing and come up with a game plan.
2) We're also both working full time jobs and raising 2 kids at the same time which is not always easy.
Some "questionable" things we've done...
Used very tall plastic stakes to encourage the trees to grow straight and to protect them from breaking when the snow starts to melt in the spring. We also have a nasty wind channel in the area where I planted the trees so the stakes protect them from wind damage too. Eventually I plan to use my Korea Pines and other trees/shrubs as a wind break so this won't be an issue forever. I want my trees to be reinforced by dancing and swaying in the wind regularly too, as trees should. I clearly need advice and best practices here. Used a store-bought mycorrhizal solution in the dug holes before we planted the trees. The intention was to create that symbiotic relationship early on to give the roots the best chance of survival. We also mixed in bone meal with our soil before layering it back in the hole. Used plastic tree protectors to protect against rodents. We have a lot of mice, voles, squirrels and chipmunks here. Used bagged manure. The reasoning behind that is simple: I don't know anyone (yet) who has fresh cow/horse/sheep manure on offer or for sale/trade. I'm sure I could find somebody for that eventually, I just haven't got that far yet. So we had to resort to store-bought crap (pun intended). I would have much rathered use our homemade compost entirely but we just didn't have enough of it. Ideally, now that we have very fertile soil, which was already good to begin with, I don't feel like I will need to amend the soil in the years to come, or at least not often, since we have such a good base point now. Proper pH, mineral balance and light levels are definitely some things that I need to learn more about though.
In your opinions, are we doing things right? Or close to it, at least? Was it a good or bad idea to plant our fruit trees amid the hugel mounds? Does it make sense to leave gaps with no wood (so the trees have a solid foundation)?
After it's all said and done, I'm left with a lot more questions than answers. I'm sure many of you have been down similar roads before and probably came out of it victorious. What was your secret? It's all a big learning game to me right now and I realize I don't know sh** lol. But I'm learning! I address a lot of this stuff in my next episode entitled "Working with Hügelkultur [Part 5] Q&A + Shoutouts" so look forward to that one if you want more details about the why's behind my choices and where we're at.
Thanks in advance for your input!
Maple Grove Productions
Nate Reid wrote:Something I might do if this was my project would be to cover over those hugel mounds with mulch asap.
Nate Reid wrote:One final comment. Consider learning to graft your own trees.
Marco Banks wrote:Boy -- those trees are tiny little whips, aren't they?
Marco Banks wrote: You did a nice job taking your time and carefully getting the depth correct. People have a tendency to plant too deeply, and then the water settles into the hole and can rot the tree roots.
That's a lot of love you gave those little trees. If they don't thrive, I don't think you can be blamed.