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Paul Wheaton's hugelkultur article thread

Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 241
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
Oops! NOW it's ready for spring.


[Thumbnail for 2011hugelbeet5.jpg]



Vic Johanson

"I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's"--William Blake
ellen rosner


Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 116
This is a beauty!

what are going to plant there?
Matthew Fallon


Joined: Jan 07, 2010
Posts: 307
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
    
    1
i filled the bottom of all our raised beds with cardboard and log/branch debris,along with some kitchen/juicing waste. then compost/topsoil,then topped off with worm castings scraped up from underneath some yew bushes. .

also making a bigger hugel mound in the composting area, this one has aobut 30 bags full of horse manure added to it.
going to get more soon .and seed the top with some sort of winter cover/green manure crop.



Baldwin Organic Garden Share  Our home-based garden cooperative.  Tribal Wind Arts Rustic Furniture  & Artisan-Craftwork from reclaimed suburban trees
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 241
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
"This is a beauty!

what are going to plant there?"

Well, I'm still thinking about that. Probably some beans and cucurbits, maybe some spuds. Some lettuce on the east side. Maybe some grains to get some stabilizing roots down, especially on the steep sides. I'll be mixing it up. Down with monoculture!
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 969
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
I'm curious to see how your bed in Alaska does, too -- I've lived up there quite a few years, and have considered going back.  One of the things that stops me is the short growing season!

Kathleen
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 241
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
"I've lived up there quite a few years, and have considered going back."

I've left and come back twice. Almost left again, but got sort of an epiphany in the nick of time. Now here for the duration (unless I get another epiphany...). We've recently purchased 48 acres, which should provide an excellent laboratory for all my evil plans.

I'll report back next season. Ours is short, but at least it gets hot here in the interior.


Vic
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 969
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Yes, it does get hot there.  Hard for people to understand who have never been to Alaska!

I grew up at Delta Junction, and also lived in Tok for several years.

Kathleen
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
had an idea today. For areas that get rainfall only during one part of the year would it be worth while to line your hugel bed ditch with clay before adding the logs, soil and other debris? Would giving it this type of slow draining sealed base allow it to keep more water longer thru the season without needing irrigation?
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
vicj...are you going to mulch that bed? I failed to mulch some of the hugelbeds I made last fall and they eroded dramatically by the time the spring melts were gone.


http://www.greenshireecofarms.com
Zone 5a in Central Ontario, Canada
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
PapaBear wrote:
had an idea today. For areas that get rainfall only during one part of the year would it be worth while to line your hugel bed ditch with clay before adding the logs, soil and other debris? Would giving it this type of slow draining sealed base allow it to keep more water longer thru the season without needing irrigation?


My main concern with that is there might be water-logging during the wet season or during floods.  Here in Central Texas it can be dry for months and then we can get a foot of rain in a 24 hour period.  A non-draining or very slow-draining bed might just fill up and drown the plants.  I haven't seen how my sunken beds behave in flood, because it has been mostly dry.  I'm concerned they might get water-logged.  This would not be a problem for plants which tolerate wet feet.


Idle dreamer

Mark Vander Meer


Joined: Dec 12, 2009
Posts: 74
It would be better to put in a capillary break at the bottom, let gravitational water flow thru and retain water held by adhesion and cohesion.  This entails about 4-8 inches of gravel with lots of pore space. It's a bit counter-intuitive, but it works.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
That's a LOT of gravel.    I certainly won't be able to do that.

                                  


Joined: Oct 04, 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Chautauqua County KS
Alright, so maybe I missed this being talked about in the last 16 pages, but...
What would happen if you dug a hole to plant a tree, dug 10" deeper than needed and filled the bottom of the hole with wood, straw....hugelkultur stuff?
Would that work the same way as in a raised bed? provide water source, decompose and be beneficial to the tree?

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Stay Curious
Tim Southwell


Joined: Nov 07, 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Hamilton, MT
I am in the design stage for a landscaping project on my 20 acres in Darby, MT next summer.  The property is rural and has no man constructed water source, nor running water.  I mean to use nothing but the 14.7" of precip annually to water the new food forest I intend to plant.  As the property is rolling with distinct ridges and valleys, I was going to use mainly swales on contour.  My question is, to maximize water capture & retention, would it be advised to develop the swales on top of a Hugelkultur sub-base?  Any ideas on this front are appreciated.


Tim Southwell

www.facebook.com/abcacres
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
notomoro wrote:
Alright, so maybe I missed this being talked about in the last 16 pages, but...
What would happen if you dug a hole to plant a tree, dug 10" deeper than needed and filled the bottom of the hole with wood, straw....hugelkultur stuff?
Would that work the same way as in a raised bed? provide water source, decompose and be beneficial to the tree?



My plan is to dig the hole much wider, but not deeper, and make a "hugel ring" around each tree.    Putting the material under the tree might make it sink down into the hole in a weird way....

                                  


Joined: Oct 04, 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Chautauqua County KS
I see your point about the sinking tree!  A "hugelRing" is an excellent idea, seems like it would work very well
Jeff Hodgins


Joined: Mar 29, 2011
Posts: 140
The problem is that people often have little land, or don't want to dig alot. I've made some piles very quickly but leaving all the branches on the trees so they stick out alot and climbers grow all over them. I grew plants in them but I plan to add more wood, soil and weeds next year. I made lots of usable hugle with less work to start off the first year.
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
Hugelkultur Wins Innovation Award! http://carrotcache.com/innovations/innovations-2011/hugelbeds/index.html

I need your help in editing this webpage. Firstly, there are some gramatical errors which I won't get specific about but will mention to the website editor. (eg. A period where there should be a ' - ' and that sort of thing) I'm looking to you for technical errors or omitions of information. Admittedly I wrote this quickly, and off the top of my head for the most part. I was in a hurry, as I submitted this after the application deadline.


These are the errors I've noticed so far...


Second Paragraph below the first picture:

I simply want to add the following sentence on the end; "Just about any plant will grow well in these beds."

Third Paragraph below the first picture:

The sentence reads; "If using freshly cut live wood, it is recommended to grow 'light feeder' plants or nitrogen fixers such as beans" I want to add "...in the first year." on the end of that sentence


The "Step 1 " picture down near the bottom of the page is overlapping part of the instructions, making them unreadable.

I want to add a "Step 5" which says: "The bed is now ready to plant, whether it be seeds, starts, woody plants, or root cuttings etc.  Depending on bed height, the water table, and width of your paths, trees can be planted either right in the path, midway up the side of the bed, or if you have high water table, near/on top of the bed."

Any other corrections needed?


Andy White


Joined: Nov 07, 2011
Posts: 8
to unsure good germination/transplant adjustment,

ensure
                                  


Joined: Oct 04, 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Chautauqua County KS
So, another thought about hugelkultur and trees. What if, when planting a tree, dig the hole for the root ball with 10" extra space between it and the wall of the hole, set the tree in hole, fill the space outside the root ball with large wood chips, hay, worms, compost, other hugelkultur items, cover with dirt, water, watch grow.
anybody ever used a plan like this?
Andy White


Joined: Nov 07, 2011
Posts: 8
Hi All,

Been reading loads about HK and I'm really fired up about it for many reasons. It's been a crap year and I think that's been due to the soil lacking nutrients, but more importantly to a lack of structure - water just runs off the surface of the soil, and if you disturb the surface and give it a really good go with the hose, the top 2" or so, gets wet, but that's it.

I'd been planning to dig trenches, line them w/ cardboard boxes and newspaper, flood them and re-fill them thus creating a sort of underground reservoir.
The idea that I could achieve the same thing with the pile of slash that would have to be burnt otherwise is a wonderful revelation indeed.

There is a fence at the edge of the patch. It runs SSW so it's a bit of a dead spot at that side of the plot, only getting sun after about 2pm in summer, almost no direct light in winter. I had the thought that I could pile the slash up against the fence and have a Hugel bed running along it.

It's an unpromising location, but I kind of fancy doing it. For one thing, it will improve the view (tall galvanised metal posts are a bit oppressive - they'd seem less tall with a Hugel bed in front), and another is that my co-worker will probably want to have proof that it works before he's OK with it. This is the most non-productive least attractive area, so if I can improve it life will be so much better - and I'll prove the principle and pave the way for future HK beds.

A couple of questions for all you Hugelers out there:

By choosing this location am I squandering my resources (slash)?
Do I need to put a barrier against the fence, or can I just pile the slash up against it?

I don't know what I used to do before I found this site 

HH.

PS. The local Turkish greengrocers has some red savinas in - they blow the crap out of the bhuut jolokias I happened to have in the fridge.
Awesome.


[allotmentfence1.jpg]

[hugelheap!.jpg]

mike mclellan


Joined: Nov 13, 2011
Posts: 75
Location: Helena, MT zone 4
    
    3
Notomoro-re: your enlarged planting hole

Remember that most trees' feeder roots are rather shallow. David Jacke advises digging the hole twice as wide as the rootball but not putting any amendments into the hole.  The roots will tend to stay in the immediate vicinity of the rootball instead of reaching out in all directions as they should. This eventually would likely lead to circling roots that would stunt the tree and eventually cause its death.  This is consistent with advice I once received from a licensed arborist/urban forester.  The wider hole creates softer soil for the roots to extend into once root growth commences. Feed the soil from the top down as nature does using wood chips and some compost. Eliminate grass competition through sheet mulching.

To all, I've learned a ton from reading all of the entries in the hugelkultur forum.  I have four large piles underconstruction here in the dry Helena valley. Can't wait to see how things will grow on them next year.
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 241
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
Travis Philp wrote:vicj...are you going to mulch that bed? I failed to mulch some of the hugelbeds I made last fall and they eroded dramatically by the time the spring melts were gone.


Yah, I thought so too, so I threw a bunch of dead leaves over it (although they didn't cling to the sides too well). We'll see what happens.
Mark Anderson


Joined: Nov 15, 2011
Posts: 29
Oops, I posted this a few minutes ago on another thread, then saw this one. In 1990 I was experimenting with potatoes grown in raised beds, figuring it would be easier to weed and harvest them if they were higher up. I took eight straw bales and made a rectangular bed filling the inside with soil and compost. The potatoes did really well and I had a good harvest that year. The interesting part is what happened later. The next Spring I moved away to college and didn't see the garden for two seasons. When I did get back for a visit in the Fall of 1992 I went out to where the raised bed had been and saw a mass of potato plants growing by themselves, when I investigated I saw that the soil in the middle mostly had weeds in it, the potatoes were growing out of the old straw bales I had used to make the walls of the raised bed. When I pulled the bales apart they were loaded with big healthy russets, and there was a nice deverse little ecosystem in there especially near the bottoms of the old bales. This was in Sequim, WA. which is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, summers are drought conditions for agriculture yet the old straw bales had kept the potatoes moist and healthy. After seeing the thread about huglekulture (spelling?) I'm thinking straw bales may work for that type of raised bed much easier, better, and faster than wood logs. The bales are more uniform, they hold water like sponges, they rot quickly on the inside yet with the bindings they hold their shape fairly well even after a couple of seasons. Straw bales are made from stalks that might otherwise be burned off if farmers don't have buyers interested in the bales. If buying bales is difficult, I think a person could use a sythe to cut tall field grasses and make large bundles that could be used in similar fashion. Has anyone tried using bales for the huglekulture beds? If so, I would like to know how it worked out and whether my experience was a fluke. Oh. one other thing; I'm also wondering if anyone has tried inoculating straw bales with spore to grow mushrooms?
jack spirko


Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Posts: 102
    
  36
Well Paul asked me to share my videos on Hugelkultur here so I am going to. I am chronicling all the stuff I am doing with it, here are parts one. two and three so far. Much more to come.

Part One



Part Two



Part Three



More to come soon.
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 994
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
hopefully i didn't go and post this in the wrong thread or anything, i'm assuming this is just hte place for it for now though

i am planning a small food forest for my grandma's place in zone 4, got all my plants listed out, until i find more anyway lol and i know hwere i'm puttin huygelkultur's and such but i had a question about something i assumed would work but am now uncertain

can one simply plant mushroom spores within your hugelkultur logs prior to burying them and as a result grow mushrooms on your hugelkultur beds?

anyone know or tried this??


Current Cheyenne, WY project
"Do you Hugel?" T-shirts and other products
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 149
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
I was kind of wondering the same thing... kind of . I have lots of dead trees which are still standing which have fungi growing all over them (wierd, woody really hard mushrooms which are shaped like oyster mushrooms). I want to bury these logs in a hugelkultur bed, but hope these mushrooms don't continue to flourish.


Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 994
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
so basically im gonna hope your wrong and your gonna hope im wrong:p

and to ask a ton more questions as im sure there are more on the way

i was also under the impression that one planted trees on top of the hugelkultur beds, am i correct or am i supposed to plant to one side or another?
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I inoculated a couple of my buried wood beds aka "hugel pits" with mushroom spawn - so far, no joy. But it was exceptionally hot and dry over the summer, not the best conditions for fostering mushrooms. I think if you want to start mushrooms in your hugelkultur you probably want to use relatively fresh wood which isn't already impregnated with unwanted fungi.

jack spirko


Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Posts: 102
    
  36
Charles Kelm wrote:I was kind of wondering the same thing... kind of . I have lots of dead trees which are still standing which have fungi growing all over them (wierd, woody really hard mushrooms which are shaped like oyster mushrooms). I want to bury these logs in a hugelkultur bed, but hope these mushrooms don't continue to flourish.


See I don't get this concern? Who cares if the fungi flourish? How do you expect that this will harm your system? Keep in mind hugelkultur is a "forest system" in nature. It isn't something anyone "invented", I can take you to any forest, especially a temperate forest and show you it happening naturally. Key to that is that Grassland/Savannah soils are "bacterial based" and forest soils are "fungal based".

Might a fungi based log reduce the life of a hugel bed? Sure but does it really matter? Not to me personally. I would also state that the depth of soil after a 10 year cycle of a hugel bed is going to be huge, irrigation in a polyculture will still be very minimal even when you can't find anything that looks like wood below the surface.
Brad Davies
volunteer

Joined: Sep 22, 2011
Posts: 212
Location: Clarkston, MI
    
    8
Devon Olsen wrote:so basically im gonna hope your wrong and your gonna hope im wrong:p

and to ask a ton more questions as im sure there are more on the way

i was also under the impression that one planted trees on top of the hugelkultur beds, am i correct or am i supposed to plant to one side or another?


I am wondering this as well, both the mushroom question and the trees on a hugel bed. My assumption is that if you wanted a specific mushroom in your hugel bed you would follow the typical procedures for log cultivation then place it in the hugel bed. Select a tree or limbs, cut in the spring, innoculate with plugs or spawn, let the mycelium colonize the log then use it in the hugel bed. This is just a guess I have no idea if it would work or not, but it would give your selected mycelium a headstart on any other random one that might step in.

My concerns would be that the selected mycelium might not be able to fruit through the mass of dirt that's piled on top, a random mycelium might be better suited for this niche and out compete your selected variety essentially wasting your time and plugs.

Another option might be to inoculate the entire bed with a variety of edible mycelium, letting nature select the best for that fit. Perhaps using straw as a substrate and mixing it in throughly with the woody material. I would imagine you would want to use clean logs for this, logs that have been laying dead and in ground contact probably already have some random mycelium colonizing them.

Yet another option could be to innoculate a log and stick it into the hugel bed like a totem pole, bury about 1/3 of it. The log should be colonized before this ground contact so it doesn't get colonized by a random mycelium first. This is one technique Sepp outlines in his new book, not putting it in a hugel bed, put burying it totem pole style.

Just some random thoughts I have had on this as I was wondering the same thing.


SE, MI, Zone 5b "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
~Thomas Edison
jack spirko


Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Posts: 102
    
  36
Adding to my last post....

1. If the hugle bed is growing annuals rebuilding it in the down season is a lot easier then building it the first time. Getting 10 vs 15 years is insignifigant in cost over the life of such a system.

2. If the system is perennial based after 10 years the root system will be so established it won't need the system in its original form.

Personally I have been using wood that is 20-50% rotted to build my systems. They start working in year one. I don't care what I find if it is big enough and won't crumble in my hand into the hole it goes. Fungus, in, fresh cut but to skinny for firewood, in. Rotted on the bottom and solid on the top, in.

I just can't see burying a nice piece of white oak, that could be cut to timber or used as fuel. I can find tons of wood to far gone for fuel or timber laying all over the place. In anything from a rural area to a suburban wood lot so why waste a good resource. A lot of people seem concerned about using conifers as well, yet are not the hearts of the master's (Sepp) beds made mostly of spruce?
Charles Kelm


Joined: Apr 30, 2010
Posts: 149
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
Brad - yeah, I guess time will tell. I agree that if I had expensive mushroom plugs, I would NOT install them in a log, then bury that log in a hugel bed. I think the chance for success would be minimal.

Jack - yeah, I'm hoping you're right. I built a 5 foot high by about about 30 feet long hugel bed this spring and summer. Most of the wood was mushroom infested (again - a strange, very hard and woody oyster type mushroom). I think it will be fine, like you said.

I don't know what is wrong with the trees on this property, but a large percentage of them are standing dead (with the mushrooms I described). But, as Geoff says, the problem is the solution (I'm hoping). I plan to take them down as I can, and put them into hugel beds (I have a boggy property, so I am trying to get some growing beds above all the water). This will make room for all the food forest trees I have planned. It will be slow - I'll do what I can afford to do.

BTW Jack, you're the reason I even know what permaculture is, although it is a Ruth Stout book which got me interested in growing food crops.

P.S. On a similar topic, last year, someone gave me several pounds of sliced portobello mushrooms which had gone past their prime. I tossed them out in a small lawn area where I normally park my truck. Early this fall they began to come up in several different areas. I was surprised since I didn't do much to ensure their success. There are many trees dropping twigs and leaves in the area, so I guess there was enough woody material to support the fungus. Here are a couple of photos:




[Thumbnail for Portobellos in lawn.jpg]


[Thumbnail for Portobello in hand.jpg]

Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 994
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
the totem idea would work pretty well, essentially making a stump in your bed, done right and it would look pretty good as well adding to the beauty of the food forest
jack spirko


Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Posts: 102
    
  36
One thing I want to acknowledge for the people who want to grow mushrooms, in that instance I have to state you absolutely would not want to use a log already showing signs of fungal inoculation. You would want your shoom of choice to have the material to itself. That was something I didn't really think about in my initial response.
Kay Bee


Joined: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
some of the aspects of the recent mushroom questions are discussed in threads on the fungi portion of the forum


"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
garrett lacey


Joined: Nov 22, 2011
Posts: 72
Location: Kamloops, BC, semi-arid rainshadow, zone 6
    
  10
I buried some woody debris in my garden in the spring and had different kinds of volunteer fungi coming up all over the place. They looked edible, though I feel I need to brush up on mushroom ID before i sample them next year.

I'm recalling a species Stamets mentions in Mycellium Running; King Stropharia. Seems to be a large, meaty species that is well adapted to growing in the topsoil. I'm sure the mycellium would go down through the soil and into the rotten wood.

If anyone hasn't read Mycelliium Running i'd highly recommend it. I managed to find it at the library


I'm currently spending lots of time walking through the alleys foraging for peoples tree prunings and rotten wood piles. In addition to my own garden, I am piling up wood in a gravel/dirt parking lot behind a group house i used to live in. It is in s somewhat undesirable part of town where you can pretty much get away with anything so I am excited to turn it into sort of a Hugel-experimentation-lab.

Any thoughts on isolating the beds somewhat from the (I'm sure somewhat polluted) soil in the parking lot while still taking advantage of rainwater runoff? I am using the debris that I am more suspicious about in this project, & I'm opting to somewhat ignore the toxic aspects in the parking lot, feeling that partially contaminated garden will be better than underused & abused parking area. However, I am thinking that the mycellium present in the rotting wood may work to digest some of the petrochemicals that may be present, or perhaps eventually ordering the oysters from fungi perfecti at some point in the future to make a more serious attempt at remediation.
Tony Elswick


Joined: Aug 10, 2011
Posts: 73
did you seed directly into the ground? or seedling transplants?

garrett lacey


Joined: Nov 22, 2011
Posts: 72
Location: Kamloops, BC, semi-arid rainshadow, zone 6
    
  10
Me?

A bit of both. I was taking a horticulture course last year so i had free access to a large greenhouse in the spring and did quite a few starts in there. DId most of my greens direct seed.

I'm interested to try direct seeding my tomatoes and such in cloches (milk jugs with the bottoms cut out) next year. I definitely like the idea of direct seeding as many things as possible, or even using the scattering method as i've saved a fair amount of seed this year.
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
I had success with self-seeded tomato plants in a hugelkultur bed of sorts this year, using hay instead of logs. I'm in zone 5a. I think maybe Paul issued a request/challenge to grow tomatoes via direct seeding, and I kinda did that by accident. Here's what happened:

I made the bed by lining up the hay bales, removing the strings, soaking the bales, and then burying them on all sides in a mix of half horse manure, half soil, with a small percentage of kitchen scraps thrown in. The thickness of this layer was an average of 3-4 inches thick. A hay mulch layer of about 2 inches was placed on top of this. The bed was constructed at the end of may. Onions were planted shortly after construction, and the squash was direct seeded in early june. But what about the tomatoes you ask? Well I'll get to that in a sec...

As this bed was for my market garden, I planted a carpet of green onions, bush squash every 5 feet, and intended to allow useful wild plants to thrive whenever possible. My intent was to harvest the onions closest to the squash perimeter once a week in order to avoid the squash shading out the onions. Within about a week tomatoes started coming up like grass, as did self seeded squash and melon. I thinned everything out all but the strongest-looking plants to about 2 foot spacing, except for the onions. I left their population alone, and every week I harvested green onions, taking the ones which were closest to the tomatoes and squashes.

I ended up with about 4 different types of cherry tomatoes, 3 types of large tomatoes, a few pumpkin, two types of squash, and some kind of cross-bred melon. The bed ended up looking a little wild but still as if I intended the plants to be there. I did some guided farm tours this year and many people were surprised that most of the plants in the bed were self seeded.

Being that I'm in zone 5a, I wasn't sure that the tomatoes and melon would have enough time to finish. Usually in my area people start tomatoes indoors in february or march, and transplant between may 24- early june. Since the tomatoes in this hugel bed only started popping out of the ground in early june I thought they might not have enough time to ripen. Boy was I wrong! Admittedly the ripening was mostly at the end of the season, continuing even after the first few light frosts. I have pictures of the bed somewhere but I can't find em at the moment.

There were also at least two types of mushrooms that came up, one of which looked exactly like button/portabello mushrooms but I was too cautious to try them. I don't know enough about shroom ID to be comfortable risking a taste. I did irrigate this bed once or twice a week with dripline because many of the squash plants and a few of the tomato plants had drooping, wilted leaves on occasion during a 3 week period of no rain and hot temperatures.

I'm planning on attempting to duplicate this happy accident but changing things a bit by leaving out the home compost, and intentionally seeding tomatoes.

(To the Moderator(s) - should this be split into another topic?
 
 
subject: Paul Wheaton's hugelkultur article thread
 
cast iron skillet 49er

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