Been a while since I posted, been super busy with life and work and finally last fall started getting back into the garden in a big way. I made a buried wood raised hugel bed which I will post later but my main focus this early spring has been a behemoth Hugelkultur mound.
We had a 130 year old 100 foot tall red oak that died in our side yard. The previous owner had put cinder blocks around it and mounded up dirt to try and level a significant dip in our hollow. I dug out 6 rows from around the tree, going down over six feet but there was even another row that I could not get to. These people even put tennis balls around the tree that were perfectly flat from all the growth. I was so sad to see it go but we had to cut it down.
We got a good deal to cut it down but they wanted another 2 grand to cart it off. The sections were over 2.5 or 3 feet across and ten feet long each. They fell in a kind of V shape with a bunch of large sections in the middle, so I could not dig and roll to bury them or narrow the space. After two years on the ground they were covered in lichen and mycelial growth so I decided I would try and bury it all and build a big bed over it.
I don't have photos of all the stages but I did it all myself, a 5 foot 4 58 year old lady. LOL pretty proud of myself! As the sections were pretty far apart and very tall, I was unable to cover it with soil all the way down to the ground at this point, so I covered the logs themselves with dirt then built up the walls with oak leaf mould and thick branches to make an edge to the bed. Eventually, I will build these edges out in a terrace formation and fill in with soil, but for now I already have a lot on my hands.
I seeded the whole thing with dwarf white clover because the bed is so wide, I wont be able to weed regularly. I have very good compost that I used to mix with our sandy local soil and some clay to make a good topsoil. The soil level on top is at least 3 inches deep all over. Under that is a thick layer of grass and moss cuttings and below that are copious amounts of oak leaves and then small branches, dirt/soil then the big logs. I watered it generously as I built it, making sure to soak it down at each level.
So, my question is this: The bed is over ten feet wide on one end and only 2 feet wide at the other. It is almost 30 feet long (maybe more, I didn't take an accurate measurement) and about 4.5 feet at it's highest point, but it has a lot of hillocks and valleys because of the shape of the logs and brush I used. The bottom faces south west and the top faces north east exactly, measured by a compass. It gets good light even in the summer with full sun on one side in the morning and full sun on the other side in the afternoon.
I want to ask for assistance in a planting chart. I have the following seeds already set with cold weather plants already hardening off. The warmer plants I can plant a bit later, but I need help related to where. It have been VERY cold here in zone 7a with limited rain, but we just had two good days of gentle rain, aka the best kind!
Giant Green Chard
Market More Cukes
Early Green Cabbage
Heirloom Red Corn
I didn't overplant seeds so with the vining plants I only have 2-3 of each kind. I planned on placing posts and trellis on the north side for the tomatoes and cucumbers and then planting things that will be long to develop like cabbages on the next level up with vining plants on the top that can trail down to the south east side as far as they want. The entire piece of land is probably 1/8 acre that hasn't been taken care of since Hurricane Sandy so I covered the whole thing with card board and leaves and will bring in wood chips to make paths and finally beds as well, but right now this is a whole lot of bed!
I do know, based on the building materials that eventually the center will fall in and I will have two more narrow beds covering all the tree trunks. I also know I need to cover the ends of the tree trunks that are sticking out to have more effective decomposition, but at this point I ran out of building materials and used up my entire compost pile and leaf mold pile, so that will have to wait for next year.
Thanks so much for any help you can offer! I really appreciate it and am so excited to get back into the garden!