you can see my list on my blog below..zone 4/5..anything I can grow you can grow. I grow lots of grapes, am retrying kiwi, I have trailing black berries and raspberries, clematis, climbing roses, bittersweet, wisteria grows here but doesn't bloom, trumpet vine, lots of annual vines like peas and beans etc..i guess dutchman's pipe and some others will grow here but I haven't got any (would love some if someone has any others like dutchman's pipe or akebia or other perennial vine starters !!)
rusty metal such as iron will feed the soil but do not put it where you will dig to harvest, best under shrubs and trees..do NOT use aluminum or metal that might have been painted with or might contain lead..
steel and iron are the best, and unpainted..try to not use things with sharp edges where you will dig anything. Metal is really great for pear and apple trees.
I did top one somewhat hugel bed with clay soil one year by accident (my son and husband filled it when I wasn't looking)..and it is a real bear to work with. I still have been mulching and planting it but it isn't a very good bed..maybe someday it will be.
I continue to pile organic matter on top..but it fills up with weedy stuff mostly..the kale did well on it and the podding radishes and the lettuces were OK..but that is about all that survived (of course we had a horrible drought last year as well)
you don't have to use manure if you can't get it or don't have it..just use what you have put down, add some topsoil over the top and plant and mulch..you can topdress with manure should you want to put it in later.
your hugel bed looks just fine..don't worry if you can't do more, you have done that much..sometimes we stress cause we can't get something huge..but oftentimes smaller bites of good starts is better than trying to go all out with something more than you have materials for.
I dug wood into some very small beds and then just put the soil and some compost over the top..it helped tremendously..and it was just a couple feet of wood..like yours.
i don't know but I would be interested to see what happens...keep us posted.
we had to have fill brought in that had willow in it, and I kept retilling ovef and over till I got ALL the baby willow sprouts out..what a mess..but 10 years later no problem with them..so I'm always wondering what plants might do that.
I have been putting my heart and my soul into the property that we live on for over 40 years since we moved here when we got married. I love my property but yes I'll be 62 this summer and I have a son with no wife or children. We gave a piece of our land to our son so he built his house adjoining our land, so together we have a larger amount of acerage. I know that when we are gone our son would love to have our property, but, what about after he is gone? There is no heir.
I hope that there will be someone in Joel's future that he'll feel confident to leave the land to, it would be such a shame for it to go to the government.
We have been building food forests, ponds, etc on the propery and it will be at a self sustainable level by the time I'm gone..I hope that someone will want to keep it that way. (see blog in signature)
if you can get to my area in north central Michigan you can have all the willow and aspen cuttings you would like. I also put in hybrid poplar cuttings last year that are a mix of willow and poplar, got the cuttinggs from my BIL..
great forage trees, also good for mushrooms. They make pretty interior wood. Can be burned for firewood but not the best..must be used within the first year and not allowed to remain on wet ground.good hugelkulture logs.
does any sun get to the area any part of the day, say if it is a south fence maybe morning and evening..etc? otherwise stick with things that prefer shade..i have things planted on the north side of my house that get very little sun and they thrive..mostly hostas, bleeding heart, filipendula, goatsbeard, monkshood, strawberries, vince, mint, ferns, etc.
then about 5 to 8 ' out there are trees and shrubs of all kind that get either reflected light or some direct light in the morning and evenings.
i saw an article where people built raised beds out of the fabric that is used to prevent erosion ..i believe the article was on the backwoods home website.. you might be able to sew two ends together of the erosion fabric with something that wouldn't pierce your liner..and fill the sewn BAG with blunt ended log pieces and soil and compost..to make an island..you wouldn't want sharp sticks or roots that might possibly pierce your liner..and you will want your liner to go UNDER the island otherwise you will have leakage..where the liner doesn't go..
there are a lot of good articles and books available for building ponds with liners..i didn't need a liner so I don't have a lot of info for you on that though.
you can also create floating islands..by using something that will float to hold it above the water..the fish in the pond then can feed off of the roots that go down into the water..some hydroponic set ups have fish below their plants. styrofoam or air filled chambers will help things float..also if you live in a really cold area you can float a "greenhouse" of some sort to magnify the sun into the water to keep an area free of ice in the winter..i have been meaning to try some floating islands with plants and also the floating glass or plastic "greenhouse" type thing to help with winter weather keeping small areas open and warmed..
Well I'm not sure what you are asking about the island..but it varies around the island..where the bridge is ..at top water leve it is about 30 inches deep on the north side of the bridge and under..but to the south side of the bridge there is a HOLE that is about 10 ' deep more more when the pond is dry, so that plus the water level on top would be about 13' deep there, I have a bubbler in the hole for the winter right now. That hole is SOLID CLAY..Joel tried digging as far as he could with a small backhoe, and he dug till he couldn't get the backhoe in there any deeper..and the area where the backhoe was sitting was a bit deeper than the highest level..he never got a buketload out that wasn't solid clay digging that hole.
On the south side there is a bit more shallow slope away from the pond, the East side is a little deeper but not really any drop off there and the North East is quite shallow slope away from the island.
We do have a problem with cattails wherever there is shallow water..so the edges of the island have cattails on the borders where the water and soil meet. I have gobs of plants planted in the pond of all kinds ..water lilies and lotus, as well as other pond plants, but the wildlife tend to tear them up pretty badly in the summertime.
we did hit some white sand on the North end of the pond in a band on top of the clay, but otherwise there is just clay clay clay.
the slope TO the pond is fairly gentle..from our house and our son's house..but most of our food forest and gardens drain into the pond as well as the lawn ..there is a drain ditch to the east of the pond that carries off water from the neighboring properties back to a wetland North of the pond and behind the house, as there may be contaminates in that water from the roads, neighbors, etc...we don't let that water go into the pond.
we built a bank on the north side of the pond between the pond and the wetlands, and the pond overflow goes into the drain ditch as well. The property also has some french drains that drain into that ditch..but the pond gets plenty of water as our property has a very high water table.
thanks for the compliments on the property ..I totally love it here
I personally recommend the second edition of Gaia's Garden..and there are a lot of good forest garden and permaculture books..check out the book thread down farther on the forum listings.
http://www.backwoodshome.com/ also there are a lot of links to some good reading here
I have seen a lot of white pines in our area that are declining, I have lost 4 on my property and I saw dozens down the road from us that are dead or dying..I had planned on planting more white pines on our property as they are one of my favorite trees. After getting the emearld ash borer in my hundreds of ash trees, now losing these evergreens is really causing a huge tree problem on my property.
Any one else seeing this problem with white pines in other areas (N C Mich)
you could probably build up the soil with jerusalem artichokes..or some other perennial plants or deep rooted plants like chard..that won't damage the pipes..but will fill the soil with roots that will either rot or grow
i have a small island in my pond, you can view it in the blog in my address section..look up the pond threads.
Mine however is not hugelkulture..but there was cattail roots and tree roots that got buried under the clay of the island..which made it fairly fertile. I have planted some perennials and a medlar tree and some bushes on it..along with a waterfall with rocks and a bench from a section of telephone pole
a year later and this book is still # 1 on my bookshelf..I won't lend it out..to valuable to me.
I have read and re read and re read this book over and over in the past year and it will be my go to book
another great set of books that will be a great addition to this one for recipes and info on unusual plants would be the kitchen Garden set (The Kitchen Garden and the Kitchen Garden cookbook by Sylvia Thompson ..Bantam) these have a few plants that the former doesn't include and growing and preparing information ..you'll love these two..I also consider my field Guide..Edible wild Plants of North America to be a standard go to book also
I am bringing this LIST back to the top as there have been many people asking me about what to read as well. Also I have gathered some titles from other reading that I would like to find at the library as well..here are those:
The Weather Resilient Garden by Charles W G Smith
Hot Plants for cold Climaters
Palms Won't grow here and other Myths
Weeds or Wild Nature by David Holmgren
Forests in Permaculture by Bill Mollison
Amaranth to Zai Holes Laura S Meltzner
Complette Book of edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy
Designing and Maintaining your Edible Landscape Naturally by Robert Kourek
Oriental Vegetables by Jay Larkcom
Permaculture Principals and Pathways Beyond sustainability by David Holmgren
Foods not Lawns by H C Flores
The Permaculture book of Ferment and Human Nutrition by Bill Mollison
How to Make $100,000 from a 25 acre Farm by Dr Booker T Whatley (rodale)
biodynamic Farming Practice by Sattler
A Biodynamic Farm by Hugh Lovel
Biodybnamic farming vol 1 -3 by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer
Grasp the Nettle by Peter Proctor
hope to be able to get to reading some of these soon
also if you have any websites to list where there is free reading available..those would be great additions..I have gone to some but have found very little free reading actually available on them
i have been gathering boxelder saplings and transplanting them ONTO my property, they are wonderful for wildlife. No way I'd chop them down...unless you need the room for something that produces people food.
they also are a huge beautiful tree although yes they can sustain damage from wind and storms..also..they WILL coppice quite well when not too large as they grow back from the stumps fairly readily
we have done drains in steps here..first we had a ditch dug to drain spring flooding off to the swamp behind our house, as it was very dangerous flooding ..county had to dig the ditch cause they caused the problem by routing water onto our property.
after that some wetter areas were dug into smaller ditches crisscrossing over the area and emptying into the larger ditch..these were lined with gravel and perforated drain pipe put in, my son also built a house and had similar drains all the way around the house leading to the ditches and had a sump pump for any flooding put in that also drained to the ditch.
we also had dug out a low area on the property bit by bit into a small pond, larger pond, doubled the size, doubled the depth to a much larger pond..and overflow into the ditch as well.
now we have very little problem with flooding, although when the ground is frozen we'll still have some thaw stand in lakes in the winter or spring..but not nearly as much as we used to have.
we hope in the future to put in more ponds..but the gravel and perf pipes work really well (we covered with sod)
saw something in a magazine, might have been Mother Earth? where they had strawberries planted in elevated boxes and the berries hung down and were clean and very easy to pick, I could see it might work with other things..no voles would be eating those berries but birds might
anything that grows easily from roots and is invasive could surely root and take over a hugelbed..i have always warned against allowing willow pieces near anything important as willow trees will grow from nearly nothing..so be careful if you know it is likely to root, yes.
my pre housefire garden had woodchip paths (mostlly aspen) and they were wonderful to walk on..weed removed easily and i got morels in the spring..I hope some day to have aspen chip paths again and use them also in my beds..i love them.
not sure about teak but would provide same type of bed..but last longer
I have a lot of wood ash as we heat with wood, we sprinkle it lightly over the lawn, beds and around fruit tree and shrubs..but you do not want to put it heavily anywhere..we tend to toss it out on top of the snow in the winter as that is when it is available..although it doesn't provide nutrients as well doing it this way we don't have to store a lot of it..we also put some that was stored in our high acid soil woods in the past and it was spread on the pathways..they grow more grass that way and are softer on the feet
I'm always having a problem with the real warm weather plants that I try to grow here like melons ..I'm always looking for better success with them. (Michigan)..I always buy the shortest season melons i can find and start them in pots inside..but they still don't do well here.
but I'm a sucker for trying again ..harder.. earlier..more protection..etc.