I live in an urban area with limited land - 9000sf. I'm fortunate to have some lovely large oaks in my backyard that keep things shady and cooler in our hot humid summers. Down side is very little sun for growing anything. In the past, we built some raised beds in the sunniest area we could find in the back, but even though we added manure and other things to fix the clay based soil, there was never much succeess. The sunniest part of my yard is actually in front of the front yard where what is currently a lawn slopes down to a sidewalk. I'd say the drop is about 2.5 feet over a 4 foot run. So I've been thinking about getting some rocks and build up a bit of a retaining wall and fill in with good soil and compost to grow some veggies.
But all this Hugel chat has me wondering if I would be better off digging down a bit and loading in the remains or a pile of rotting firewood in my back yard plus maybe some smaller brush, then building up with the new, better soil on top of that. I don't really want to make it a mound, but do you think this approach might give me better results than just creating a filled in bed behind the wall? We are in the Mid Atlantic and seem to have very dry summers lately so I'm hoping the hugel thing would help keep some of the moisture in place as well.
It isn't a huge area, but I would certainly like to start growing some veggies that actually thrive.