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Affirm Debunk my Hugel ideas... please

Don Splitter


Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
I'm in the process of getting ready to build up some Hugelbeds for spring sow, but I would like opinions from the "permie" community to help me get started on the right foot.    I will post a series of pictures with notes/ideas.  Feel free to email me directly at filterdrum@yahoo.com

Keep in mind every Hugel bed will be about 8-10ft long.

I went through with a brush hog, and chopped down a bunch of saplings/vegetation to show land detail.  This area I'm most likely going to plant tomatoes, bush beans, and Jerusalem Artichokes, and a slew of other companion plants.  It's right next to a north facing slope, but gets alot of sun. <edit>: I wanted to plant a couple fruit trees in this area also.




Note: Red Lines are the Beds, Green is Humus ditch, and purple arrows are the slope.



This area I was planning on keeping water to grow yellow lotus, or azolla.  Note: The water will not have source of oxygenation, other than rain fall.


This area gets full sun.. I was planning on doing 2 beds with your standard "3 sisters" setup (corn, pole beans, and squash) <edit>: I also was going to plant sunflowers here as well. 

The indicator plants (staghorn sumac, and rosehips) tend to dictate a high acidic soil.



same image, but looking to the south.





This area has some really good Nitrogen indicator plants already, and some good cover crops already growing (yarrow, yellow clover?, purple clover, salsify, european wormwood, wild strawberries, and a host of others.)  I was also going to plant some sunflowers, and Jerusalem artichokes in this area.  My main goal is to have this flat area w/ lots of sun to grow some Einkorn wheat, and some fruit trees.  I don't know what to plant in the North/South Hugelbeds, but I'm up to suggestions.





Note: On the left hand side is an experiment using small ponds to allow corn/bean taproots to use for irrigation.  It turned out quite well, but the corn was pretty small.  I think it may have been due to pond liner under plants which didn't allow tap root to go into soil.

<edit>: I should note that I want to plant 2 fruit trees in each of the 3 areas.  The main things I'd like to be planting in the beds are these plants: Peas, bush/pole beans, Sweet, and dent corn (bloody butcher, and yellow), Sunflowers, Jerusalem Artichokes, multiple clover types, salad, squash/pumpkin, garlic, peppers, leeks, carrots,beets and potatoes.

The plants that have medicinal/foraging purposes are mostly in the flat area.  I want to keep these in the mix.  These plants are: Salsify, Yarrow, wild clover types, and dock.

I know these images are small, so email me if you'd like to see bigger images.

I appreciate any/all input...

Happy Fishing Everybody!



Cheers!




Zone 3(a/b) Ely, Minnesota
No matter what it is I pursue.. I prefer to pursue using my energy
joe pacelli


Joined: Oct 27, 2010
Posts: 71
    
  16
Could you please tell us your general location in your signature along with your gardening zone?

Not sure which country you are in.

Thanks.

Located in zone 8a, eastern north carolina (coastal plain)

Host of Grow Your Own: The Budding Revolution!.. on Liberty Tree Radio!
http://www.GYOTBR.com
Don Splitter


Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
Joe,  My apologies... This land is in Northern Minnesota by Ely, Minnesota in the midwest U.S.  The land is very rocky, but lots of permie potential. 
joe pacelli


Joined: Oct 27, 2010
Posts: 71
    
  16
splitrippin wrote:
Joe,  My apologies... This land is in Northern Minnesota by Ely, Minnesota in the midwest U.S.  The land is very rocky, but lots of permie potential. 


I think that your existing plan looks good, your beds seem to be designed on contour which will help.  Perhaps make your paths out of gravel, dig them down about a foot, and make sure they are level..put them in front of the hugel beds.. therefore you have just integrated a path and a swale.  Why not capitalize on the irritation-free idea by combining a swale and a path?

But if you are going to go Hugel, perhaps go Hugel and for this season, plant a cover crop over each hugel bed...  rocky ground can still produce highly fertile soil provided you work with nature...Winter rye and hairy vetch is a great combination as long as they are inoculated.  They will help you build and enrich the soil.  Just make sure you scythe/cut them down before they flower in the spring.. till them into the soil approx. 1-2 months before you are going to plant in the spring.

As far as fruit trees, I'm not sure.  But if you are dealing with this sort of slope, you might consider planting the fruit trees so that they do not shade out the other plants in the beds..  plant them more toward the N. 

                                      


Joined: Jul 29, 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Z3 MN
Oh, wow!  I knew those pictures were of Minnesota!  I'm in the same zone, near Detroit Lakes.I'm just putting in some hugel beds this fall, so I can't advise you on that, but I have been gardening in Minnesota for 30 years.  Think about native fruits for some of your plantings.  Chokecherry and pincherry will grow on the edge of a clearing.  I have chokecherries at the edge of a wooded area, some with  a southern exposure, some with a northern exposure. All produce well.  I think they will accept your terrain, so you can tuck them in here and there at the edge of the woods. Juneberries (serviceberries) do well in our area too.   I have sand cherries (prunus pumila) that do well, but their fruit is insipid, so I let the birds have them.

Now, about non-native...  There are apple varieties that work here, and some folks even have pears.  Nanking cherries do well.  I'm planning to get some of the mountain ash hybrids like shipova--a pear/mt. ash cross.  There is a very hardy Van type cherry that is sweet enough to eat fresh.  It is called Evans cherry, or Bali, or Bali/Evans.  My favorite crab apple is Dolgo.  Superhardy, and the fruit has red flesh so it makes beautiful red jelly.

Good luck with your project!
Don Splitter


Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
Joe/Breadwoman....

I appreciate the input

In regards building swales to surround my Hugel beds.  On the flat piece of my property..


The plan was to build the 2 rounded Hugel beds on the outside with water retaining swales.  Then the wheat, and catch crops would be grown in the area in between the Hugels.

I wanted to plant winter wheat, or rye for building the soil along with the salsify, clover, and other cover crops that grow there naturally.  Then til' under the winter wheat for summer wheat.  I really don't understand "inoculation" of the winter grain??  The only thing I could find on that subject had to do w/ pyschedelic mushroom growing

I have alot of Service Berry trees up on my property. I can actually reach two of them right off my deck! There are also a fair amount of ChokeCherries, and raspberries around.  As well as some Hazel Nut trees.  I plan on dropping some competition Pines where there are some Hazel Nut trees to let them get bigger. 

Thanks for the info on the trees.. Now would be the time to get those trees up there, so they can get started.  Seeing the soil is a bit rockier up there.. I plan on doing some grafting as well.  It's all new to me, but every great journey starts with a step.
                                      


Joined: Jul 29, 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Z3 MN
Hi splitrippin!  Some resources for you:

St Lawrence nursery (z3 new York) has an excellent online catalog that gives much info about fruit tree varieties, hardiness, characteristics, etc.  I print it so I can pencil my notes on it.  A great activity for winter dreaming.  I wouldn't plant trees this fall; they wouldn't have time to get established before freeze-up.  Bareroot planting in early spring works well.  St. Lawrence ships small bareroot trees that may take a year longer to fruit, but will be able to establish themselves well.  http://www.sln.potsdam.ny.us/

Another good resource is your county's Soil and Water Conservation District.  My county sells tree seedlings in multiples of 25 for use in windbreaks and wildlife habitat.  I don't mind sharing my berries with the birds, and they don't mind sharing with me.  You have to order and pay for them, then pick them up in the spring (March.) You plant them while they are still dormant. They are fairly cheap. 

If you know where you want to put in trees, you could work on preparing sites this fall and be ahead of the game come spring.

Tom has a good point about watching shade patterns when you plant trees.  As far north as we are, though, the sun is in the north, and you wil have a pool of shadow to the south of a tree.  I have trees shading the north side of my vegetabe bed, so I plant leafy crops where there will be shade most of the day.

Legumes (peas, beans, vetch, etc.) harbor nitrogen-fixing bacteria in nodules on their roots.  They are able to take nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use.  Innoculationg the seeds with bacteria at planting time ensures that they will be able to do a good job.  This improves soil fertility, and returning the plant matter to the soil by tilling in, as with cover crops, or making compost is a natural way of fertilizing.  If you grew beans this summer, pull up some and look at the roots. You'll find little knobs on the roots. Those are where the bacteria colonies are.  You can buy innoculant where you buy seeds.  The three sisters method of planting takes advantage of legume's talent;  Corn needs lots of nitrogen and beans supply it. Raccoons don't like crossing squash vines, so the squash protects the corn.
Don Splitter


Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
Excellent source for trees.. I will definitely look that up!  I appreciate the heads up on not planting the trees.  I have a lot of work to do getting the sight ready for spring. I will build another set up beds to the north for the trees. 

The chainsaw will be singing this fall dropping dead trees for the beds.

I usually get back from all my backcountry splitboarding (hence splitrippin)trips right as the snow if finally melted up in Ely.

Now, I remember reading about inoculation in "The Resilient Gardener"... that was a good book to start my city garden off.  I didn't pull any bean plants up, but all of my corn did awesome... Until the freekin squirrels went nuts. My wife thinks they're sooooo cute when they sit on the stalk and eat the corn.  If they weren't city squirrels.. they'd be stew pot squirrels.

Keep the ideas coming Paul, and "Bread Woman"... feel free to email me directly @ filterdrum@yahoo.com

Salute'
Don Splitter


Joined: Aug 31, 2011
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
So,  I wanted to post the actual design I have been mulling over.

Feel free to edit this with MS Paint, and either repost, or email to me @ filterdrum@yahoo.com



I actually forgot about the really long drainage ditch that runs down my driveway about 300+ on a pretty decent slope.  I was thinking of putting some gravel down the entire length of the ditch, or not.  Then build small round Hugel beds for fruit trees the entire length of the driveway.  The driveway runs E/W.

There are soooo many companion plant types, so I most looking to validate my plant choices. 


 
 
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