Long time reader, first time poster!
We have 5.5 + acres in N Idaho, and limited time to work on it. The family plan is to eventually move there, but I need to establish a few things before we get there. In my mind, the initial "crop" I need to get in place are trees - Fruit and Nut - as they will take the most time to mature of anything we plant. Since I have essentially one weekend a month to devote to the property, I am trying to determine the best way to plant and maintain those trees in the dry Idaho summers.
The area is a triangle roughly 300 feet wide (W-E) along the long edge (bottom side that butts against the rest of the property), 90 feet deep at the max from the road to the "bottom" edge and tapers down to a point, with the road bordering on the north side.
We want to plant double rows (Nut trees on the north side, fruit trees on the south side) with complimentary plants in between - more of a edible hedge than food forest in concept, as this will also serve as a wind/snow/privacy structure. We might do triple rows on the fat side, where we have the most footage between the bottom edge and road.
Hugelkulture mounds don't seem to be the right way to go with this, as we are aligned almost perfectly N-S and I want the trees to run W-E. It would seem that a W-E H Mound would cast too much shadow on the N side to be of use (wasted space). I'm also unclear as to whether or not big nut trees should be planted in a H Mound as they are more susceptible to high winds that could knock them over and pull up the mound as well. Lastly, with the space needed between the nut trees, I wouldn't have the heat retention for the nifty micro-climates that occur when the H Mounds are closer together.
SO, here's the question - is there a method I can use to plant the trees while maximizing the retention and absorption of rainfall? There is a well, and in a worse case scenario I can run a solar pump that feeds a drip irrigation system, but would like to look at other concepts first. And the key here is the one weekend per month I can spend on it (outside of the initial set up time, of course).
Thanks in advance!