Jay, what a beautiful way to look at it. We have fortunately had a light rain a couple days last week and Sat and again today..they add up. If you put a bucket out, it doesn't cover the bottom of the bucket even 1/64" deep, but, as I said, it adds up.
The grass is regrowing. Wildflowers like the physostegia and goldenrod in the low lying areas are now in bloom and although small and very early, the apples are ready..corn was saved in some areas, some are dead..
we are still about 2' below normal rainfall for this time of year..but I'm thankful for what we did get
well the rain amounted to around 4" in total yesterday, I walked around and checked things out, the pond was dry over half of the surface..now it is only dry over 1/4 of the surface, there is standing water in 1/4 of the pond that was dry, so that is good..and there is rain forcasted for this weekend again.
I had buckets setting out to gather water and they are all about 4" full from the rain, a few blew over in the wind though..so I'll have warm water to pour onto the trees between rains..thrilled.
Normally with 4" of rain in 13.5 hours you would expect flooding, or at least a lot of standing water..nope..it all soaked in or ran off into the pond..there is no standing water anywhere..
It came over a long period, so we did get rain, soak, rain, soak, rain, soak type pattern all day..but some of it came so fast and hard I'm sure it was mostly run off..but thankfull run off here goes to our pond...and swamp areas.
I'm not sure if it was too late for our large trees or not..it will be a wait and see game to see if they survive or die from the droughts..and also a wait and see to see if this was enough
being an older partially disabled woman with a disabled husband I think of "future proofing" in the direction of future disabilities as well as future economic situations..of course the cost of fuel has always been on our mind so we put in a wood burning outdoor furnace with pex thru the house and heat exchangers for heating house and water..and then my husband got so bad that he no longer can deal with wood, which left us totally up a creek. We do have propane backup ..but it is so expensive.. and in our area solar and wind are not feasible (cold area)..
We did move from a 2 story (housefire) to a one story..to plan for not having to climb stairs..but nearly had to put a handicap ramp in for my husband as an emergency in June..but he went thru rehab and was able to walk when he came home..thank goodness..no ramp needed..but I think toward the future and maybe will end up having to put on in yet.
with all these mini homes also you have to consider the possibilities of wheelchair access when older..and dealing with disabilities..unless you want to lose your freedom. I have tried to begin building higher hugel beds on my property to raise planting areas, as well as putting things up on trellises..and adding soaker hoses that can be put on a timer in the future so that I don't have to haul hoses or buckets..
I have put in more and more perennial trees, shrubs and plants so I don't have to do so much planting every year..and have tried to make picking access easy in the future..esp planting my dwarf pears right next to a deck where you can pick the fruit from the deck...things like that.
so not just thinking about economics but also aging is a good way to add to this idea
we have an old horse barn that is falling down in the woods on our property..I would like to replace it with a small "bug out" cabin and a get away area for us..it is on the trails through our woods from our house..
I have even thought of buying one of those "amish cabins" that they sell around here as right now we would have access to "pull" it back thro the neighbor's field to the site..so we wouldn't have to do the building ourselves (as I'm 62 and partially disabled and hubby is disabled)..We have a propane generator we could use at this cabin and a tiny refrig we could use there already..so it is an idea I still would like to consider even at my age..
in the late 90's we had access to a bunch of 7 1/2 foot long oak pallets..hard as a rock. We had an old foundation on the property so we dug it out and had it filled with cement and then I built a frame for a shed from a sill plate with a pallet upright on top and a top board..had to screw them all together as nails were impossible it was so hard and bouncy..I used regular 2x4's for roof and framing doors and I sided it with board and batten and put a shingled roof on, made the doors out of board and batten for the double doors and put a salvaged door with window on the s entrance..partitioned it off in center to make 2 rooms and used a salvaged inside door between..it is really nice and has stood up to a lot of weather.
I saw something so neat on Fox News this week. Someone was making mini homes for homeless people out of discarded dumpsters..they were very small but very complete. They had a sink, refrig, stove for heat and cooking. Toilet under a seat. windows that crank up. and it is portable.. Definately better than sleeping on the street, cause you can have food and cook. There were several different styles..He also was making homes by stacking semi trailers 2 high and 2 wide..
David, we lost everything in a house fire 8/28/02..and had to start over too, but we stayed on the same land.
Some really great news..in the last 13.5 hours we have gotten 4.1 " of rain and it is still raining and there is more coming across the lake..
I'm not complaining..but I still doubt if this is going to be enough to break our drought. The winter forcast is for DRY and COLD..but the autumn forcast holds hope with some rain and snow..
I definately am going to make some new plans for 2014, changes to how I see my property. Rather than seeing it with a HIGh water table I will see it as possible drought
does a corn farm feed a single person..or a wheat farm...or an apple orchard...or a strawberry farm...or an asparagus farm..??etc.
no, they provide one ingredient for each person that eats the produce from that one farm..but they don't provide the meal.
the closest thing to providing an entire meal would be a permaculture, organic or food forest farm type situation..or some other type of mixed media farming..a single product farm will never entirely feed anyone.
unfortunately also the trees that I mentioned that are dying off are not baby trees, these are 100 year old plus trees that are 75 to 150 feet tall !! Oaks, Ash, Maples, Box Edlers, cottonwoods, aspens, elms, white pines..etc..
there is not enough water in the soil for them to remain alive and these are acres and acres and miles and miles of trees, not something you can haul a bucket of water too, and it wouldn't do much good
i'm not capable of carrying a 5 gallon bucket to water the trees, but I have a lot of "ice cream pails" that are 5 quart and I have them out in the garden area (several hundred feet from our house) and I do fill them up ..about 15 of them...that I carry to water the baby trees that don't have soaker hoses near them..so they do warm up the water to some degree..but the water that comes out of the soaker hoses is very cold..
as for the holes by the trees..it's funny you should say that.
we have a hardpan down about 18" and I use a post hole digger and dig a hole thru the hardpen when I plant a baby tree, and in the spring when I plant trees those holes fill right up with water, cause our spring water table is that high..
I always go and get some soil from the woods ..forest duff.. and I put that in the hole to bring in the microherds from the woods..and fungi bits..and then I refill with the top soil and some sticks that go up and down in the hole, or even if the hole is larger some rotting branches..which can wick water from the bottom of the hole up.
2 of those trees have lost their leaves but still show signs of life near the earth, but all the rest still have green leaves on them even in the drought..but to put in pipe or something like that doesn't really make sense to my situation..
i guess this is a little like a vertical hugel thingy, by putting the pieces of branches in the holes..and maybe that has helped keep some of these trees alive?
Scott, so right.. This is what we really have been doing for several years now as there has been increasing heat and drought in our area and we are wondering if it is a trend.
about 12 years ago we dug a pond, for several years since we have been deepening and enlarging the pond to catch and save water on the property.
I also work at adding mulch to the gardens when I'm able (nothing to haul it with at the time so I have to do as much as I can by hand and I'm 62..and partially disabled since birth..so it is a chore. This week I picked up 4 big bags of stump grinding "chips?" at my sister's yard and put those on the garden..we have been grinding a lot of our own chips too and also adding chop and drop mulches and weeds ..and my baby trees are all mulched which I'm sure have saved them this year.
I plan to have my son put the bagger on our mulching mower this fall and I'm going to go around to some of the "organic" neighbors and gather up their leaves as well as ours, and grass clippings if we ever have lawn growing again..although our lawn is mostly clover and natural plants..it will make a good mulch.
I also found out the nearby town composts all of its garden wastes, but I'm a bit afraid of it possibly having herbicides and pesticides in it.
I use soaker hoses on the "food plants" on the property when i have to water, but the water is so cold coming out of our well and the pond is too low to draw water out of..also would like to have someone reroute our greywater but it is not a job I'm able to accomplish on my own (husband is mentally disabled from head injury)
Well, I unfortunately haven't been able to do as well as I would have liked at this point in my gardens..as we have had a lot of setbacks including housefires, droughts, etc..
I have planted tons and tons of trees, shrubs,vines, etc..to try to establish perennial food forest gardens, but I've had a lot of rabbit and deer damages, fire damages, and droughts that have really given me some horrible set backs.
as for the nuts:
I have planted chestnut, oak, hickory, pecan, hazelnut, heartnuts, black walnuts, carpathian walnuts and butternuts, as well as Halls Hard Almond. The Chestnuts are tiny babies, the oak bear very well, the hickory may have died this year from the drought, the pecan died, the hazelnuts are bearing nicely, the heartnuts, and walnuts are all small but should bear in a year or two, and the Halls Hardy almond should have born this year but the drought last year nipped the bearing ends of the branches, which after pruning off the dead have all grown back..so probably next year if we get some rain soon.
I buy organic nuts whenever possible as I eat nuts every day..they are a main staple in my diet
Fruits, well that is another story here, I have attempted to grow every single kind of fruit that will grow on my property in my zone 4/5 Michigan garden..unfortunately I have had a lot of damage to my trees and have lost a lot of blossoms to early and late frosts as well as drought..but I have had 4 kinds of apples bear this year, grapes, currants, elderberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, plums, pears, medlar, and cherries. Many of the other fruit trees are too small to bear or have had above problems ..so I'm hoping for better next year. I also have put in baby apricots and a lot of new baby cherry and peach trees this year to replace some that have suffered badly.
As far as perennials that are edible, we have a lot of those too and we also forage for perennial plants in the forests and byways nearby. I eat a lot of asparagus and rhubarb, but we also have flowers that are edible in salads and other dishes..way too many to mention but I'll mention a few here..violets, dames rocket, daylily, roses, etc...and I have herbs and greens that have perennialzed here, esp the kale and swiss chard that come back from seed yearly.. (if you go to my blog there is a fairly good list of what I grow)
we also eat a lot of seeds ..
I'll admit I do buy a lot of food as I don't raise any animals or dairy here..so i buy eggs from a local farmer and buy organic meat from a market nearby..we generally eat poultry but do occasionally have some grass fed beef.
Several years ago I planted a "fruit cocktail tree" in my food forest garden. Well it appears that only one graft survived, or at least only one has thrived, although there are a few small shoots near the bottom of the tree.
for a long time we wondered what it might be ..as it could be plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines...and it actually had a few fruits on it this spring.
We had a critter climb it and break the top half off of it this spring..dang..and knocked nearly all the fruit off of it..but we have had one ripen..
and Walla!!! it was a bit bigger than a golfball, red with yellow flesh plum...clingstone..(unfortunately) but very very sweet and lovely flavor.
Ron is so excited as he loved the flavor of the plum..but I'm not really familiar with plums (i have other plums growing but they haven't born yet..one is a Mount Royal (purple) one is a plum from a neighbor, also purple but very small fruit with huge pits..and 3 are American wild plums..probably also not the best..
but this one is a beautiful eating out of hand plum.
I need to learn a bit more of how to prepare and put up this type of plum, as I'm not a plum person. But I have all year to figure it out as it only bore ONE plum and we ate it.
the fact that it is on the NORTH wall makes it a partially shady garden...I don't know much about israel's plants..but I do know that on the north side of my home things grow so much better when we are having the kind of drought we are having now..they are still green and lush with no rain and no water..so you are fortunate that is where you'll be gardening.
place your sun lovers out on the farthest north areas, so they can get some morning and evening sun, and your shade tolerant plants closer to the walls..like greens, lettuces, etc..
you also could grow some vines up from the farthest sides toward the house to give you a nice cool shady spot to sit outside in the garden as well, grapes grow well there don't they ? and Kiwi??
yes the greywater thing is a thought, but the problem isn't really CLOSE to the house, as we can water there if need be (we have a very deep well and generally a super high water table with a lot of clay)..but no rain is no rain.
we have a pond that is ridiculously low, but there is still water in the deep end, the shallow end is bone dry.
I DO haul water to the baby trees to keep them from drying..but it is the forest that I'm concerned about, as it is generally swampy with some standing water all year around, and now it is dry dry dry..
here the fire danger is also "extreme"..which is rare for us.
there is a groundwater water table that is accessible, and we have THOUGHT about putting in a flowing well into the pond, which we will some time if we can afford the well drilling..right now we can't afford that..and we also have to be able to trench thru to a creek about 1,000 feet beyond the woods to handle any overflow from a flowing well before we do it so we don't flood the neighbors..so it will be a big expensive job..no $ now to try it.
also there is some concern if these drought conditions continue from year to year that we might not be able to draw off of the water table without damaging wells and such..no concern about our deep well now though.
this is the 3rd year of drought here and it has gotten quite bad to where all the forests in the area are suffering.
as far as planting trees, we have nearly covered all of our acerage with trees at this point, and plant about a dozen or more fruit trees every year as well as putting in acorns and seeds from shade trees on a regular basis..to replace trees that are dying (we are losing trees from the emerald ash borer, as well as some disease or bugs are killing off oak, elm, maple, white pine, in the surrounding few hundred miles from us)..
We live in a high clay area with generally very high water table..and a deeply forested area near our homes, but there are people clear cutting woods that are about 2 miles from our house..but they are downstream from us not up stream..
there was also a lot of cornfields put in last year..east and west of us, but they were hayfields before being turned into corn fields for the last 50 years.
as I have said before, we have lost a lot of ash trees on our property to the emerald ash borer, one very large one in our front yard 3 years ago, so that does coincide with the time that we started having the bad droughts..but we have replaced that tree with aspens that grew up on their own immediately, and there are shrubs and trees all over the area where it came down..
This is our third year of absolutely the worst droughts I ever remember in our area.. They have a name for it on the weather channel "the northern Michigan split". The rain clouds have been splitting up and going either North of Traverse city or South of Cadillac Michigan leaving our area without a drop of rain for weeks on end. Then when we do get rain it isn't enough. For me to water the property at all I can use soaker hoses on some of the more important things..but the water is ice cold coming out of the well. Can't put water on out of the pond as the pond is nearly dry...and the critters and fish in it would die if it went dry.
Thankfully the areas where we have buried wood in the ground are doing better than other areas..however the TOPS of the hugel beds are dry as dust..the west side is doing OK..esp near the bottom of the mound...but if we don't get some rain soon we'll lose everything.
All the berries including wild berries in the woods have dried all up, except the ones growing on larger trees like the wild cherries. There are a lot of apples but they are late and small and some of the trees are really suffering.
we are beginning to lose larger older trees in our area too and with the trees being weak from no rain, they are succumbing to diseases and bugs.
I'm just so glad we did put in the hugel beds when we did and the soaker hoses as we have been able to save a few of our crops..but with most of them planted too far away from our home to reach with hoses..there isn't much ability to save those things.
one of our neighbors has water going on their gardens from their pond, and so they have managed to save their crops..but our pond has no inlet so we can't so that.
mulch has also helped a great deal..around our baby fruit trees..I've had two of them lose all their leaves but the other ones are hanging on by the hair of their chinny chin chin..
there is no rain in the forcast for the next weeek and temps in the upper 80's forcasted..not sure what will be left after another week of no rain ?
it is well known as "duff" and it feeds all your trees and plants and animals of the forest..when you remove it you remove the food that feeds your forest..so yeah..I would say don't do it.
I guess you could "bury" some of it away from tree roots (which would be damaged by digging)..if you have fear of fire..this makes some sense..but the rotting wood feeds a lot of plants and animals. I have heard that a lot of animals and micro organisms will just move out completely and never come back if you start fiddling much with that stuff..so of course it is up to you but that is my opinion only
decide on your fruit and nut trees and berry bushes and get them in first..and remember to add some forest soil to the holes when planting and immediately put some mulch and some chicken wire or other trunk/branch protection around the baby trees so the critters don't eat them..
after they are in you can gather your supporting plants like some dynamic accumulators, insectories and nitrogen fixers to plant in the perimeter around the wire..or inside the wire if you have enough wire.
if you are planting trees this late make sure they have a lot of water so they don't dry out
the beds you did are an inspiration,it makes me want to build hugel beds along my East property line..between our son's house and ours..it would be a huge lot of work but it would be nice..I'd put trees in it too if I did, like my little bed. The trees are growing well but only were sticks this year so they have many years yet to grow, but it sure would be fun to have as long a bed as you have..maybe with some breaks in it to drive and walk thru
I wish I had known about transplant disease in fruit trees before I killed so many by trying to put them in the same areas..
peach family and apple family have transplant disease..they will not grow well where other peach famly or apple family has grown before or grows nearby..their roots will attack each other. they seem to do better if planted at the same time..but if they are planted once the other peach or apple has already been established the smaller tree will generally suffer and die.
I lost so many peach, plum and apple trees that way..
now when I lose a tree, I plant somethinig from another family entirely where it was growing..to save the heartache and expense
My sweet chestnuts are growing in acidic soil, near my blueberries and raspberries..they are doing fine they are just quite small..they were seedlings when I planted them and are about 3 or 4 years old now and are still quite small..i'll keep them growing..we have had drougts for several years but they are near a soaker hose so they shouldn't be suffering from the drought, although I only use the soaker hoses when absolutely needed.
please be careful, yellow jackets do not only sting once like honey bees and can be very painful and dangerous. I got stung last week and so did my husband. They are the ONLY bees I'll put poison on..as they are a serious danger for people who are allergic. Right now we are fightinig a bunch of them here in garage eaves where we need to do some carpentry repair.
I think the glass bowl thing works quite well..and it will keep them from getting to you while you pick the squash unless they have a back door...of course if they do you might be able to find that when they use it
I also suggest that you type in some key words to google and try to see if downloads are available..some of them might not be legal downloads so you gotta be careful when you are searching..but I have found downloads of a lot of books and pamphlets by typing in things like...
edible forest downloads
forest garden downloads
etc..just take your key words and add the word downloads to it..and see what you come up with..i have a nice library of books that way..also as I said before librararies are great
some of my beds are self fertilizing, as they have been established for many years..most still are too young though.
I have some beds around my house that have been self fertilizing for about 7 or 8 years includiing the beds with the pears, peaches, sweet cherries and strawberries in them. I have some that are reaching self fertilizing level about now, that is another area with cherries and hazelnuts. Also the walnut food forest areas are pretty much self fertilizing as they are on the edges of the woods so they are getting blown in leaves and debris from the woods itself.
I have a lot of new baby trees that I've mulched with wood chips or bark chips, they still do require some care and then I have been putting in even newer smaller baby trees the past year or two and they require a lot of care yet..
my more established beds though have been self fertilizing now for about 8 years (since our housefire nearly 12 years ago we had to re do all of our beds)
Black Walnut Toxicity to Plants, Humans and Horses
Richard C. Funt
The roots of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra L.) and Butternut (Juglans cinerea L.) produce a substance known as juglone (5-hydroxy-alphanapthaquinone). Persian (English or Carpathian) walnut trees are sometimes grafted onto black walnut rootstocks. Many plants such as tomato, potato, blackberry, blueberry, azalea, mountain laurel, rhododendron, red pine and apple may be injured or killed within one to two months of growth within the root zone of these trees. The toxic zone from a mature tree occurs on average in a 50 to 60 foot radius from the trunk, but can be up to 80 feet. The area affected extends outward each year as a tree enlarges. Young trees two to eight feet high can have a root diameter twice the height of the top of the tree, with susceptible plants dead within the root zone and dying at the margins.
Not all plants are sensitive to juglone. Many trees, vines, shrubs, groundcovers, annuals and perennials will grow in close proximity to a walnut tree. Certain cultivars of "resistant" species are reported to do poorly. Black walnut has been recommended for pastures on hillsides in the Ohio Valley and Appalachian mountain regions. Trees hold the soil, prevent erosion and provide shade for cattle. The beneficial effect of black walnut on pastures in encouraging the growth of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and other grasses appears to be valid as long as there is sufficient sunlight and water.
Gardeners should carefully consider the planting site for black walnut, butternut, or persian walnut seedlings grafted to black walnut rootstock, if other garden or landscape plants are to be grown within the root zone of mature trees. Persian walnut seedlings or trees grafted onto Persian walnut rootstocks do not appear to have a toxic effect on other plants.
Horses may be affected by black walnut chips or sawdust when they are used for bedding material. Close association with walnut trees while pollen is being shed (typically in May) also produce allergic symptoms in both horses and humans. The juglone toxin occurs in the leaves, bark and wood of walnut, but these contain lower concentrations than in the roots. Juglone is poorly soluble in water and does not move very far in the soil.
Walnut leaves can be composted because the toxin breaks down when exposed to air, water and bacteria. The toxic effect can be degraded in two to four weeks. In soil, breakdown may take up to two months. Black walnut leaves may be composted separately, and the finished compost tested for toxicity by planting tomato seedlings in it. Sawdust mulch, fresh sawdust or chips from street tree prunings from black walnut are not suggested for plants sensitive to juglone, such as blueberry or other plants that are sensitive to juglone. However, composting of bark for a minimum of six months provides a safe mulch even for plants sensitive to juglone.
Plants Observed Growing Under or Near Black Walnut*
Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum and its cultivars
Southern Catalpa, Catalpa bignonioides
Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Canadian Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis
Vines and Shrubs
Clematis 'Red Cardinal'
February Daphne, Daphne mezereum
Weeping Forsythia, Forsythia suspensa
Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus
Tartarian Honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica, and most other Lonicera species
Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia
** Pinxterbloom, Rhododendron periclymenoides
**'Gibraltar' and 'Balzac', Rhododendron Exbury hybrids
Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
Black Raspberry, Rubus occidentalis
Arborvitaes, Thuja species
** Koreanspice Viburnum, Viburnum carlesii, and most other Viburnum species
Pot-marigold, Calendula officinalis 'Nonstop'
Begonia, fibrous cultivars
Morning Glory, Ipomoea 'Heavenly Blue'
Squashes, Melons, Beans, Carrots, Corn
Peach, Nectarine, Cherry, Plum
Prunus species Pear-Pyrus species
Bugleweed, Ajuga reptans
Hollyhock, Alcea rosea
American Wood Anemone, Anemone quinquefolia
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
European Wild Ginger, Asarum europaeum
Bellflower, Campanula latifolia
**Chrysanthemum species (some)
Glory-of-the-Snow, Chionodoxa luciliae
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica
Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria
Leopard's-Bane, Doronicum species
Crested Wood Fern, Dryopteris cristata
Spanish Bluebell, Endymion hispanicus
Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis
Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis
Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum
Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum
Cranesbill, Geranium sanguineum
Grasses (most) Gramineae family
Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus
Common Daylily, Hemerocallis 'Pluie de Feu'
Coral Bells, Heuchera x brizoides
Orange Hawkweed, Hieracium aurantiacum
Plantain-lily, Hosta fortunei 'Glauca'
Hosta undulata 'Variegata'
Common Hyacinth, Hyacinthus Orientalis 'City of Haarlem'
Virginia Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum
Siberian Iris, Iris sibirica
Balm, Monarda didyma
Wild Bergamot, M. fistulosa
Grape Hyacinth, Muscari botryoides
Sweet Cicely, Myrrhis odorata 'Yellow Cheerfulness,' 'Geranium,' 'Tete a Tete,' 'Sundial,' and 'February Gold'
Sundrops, Oenothera fruticosa
Senstitive Fern, Onoclea sensibilis
Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamomea
Peony, **Paeonia species (some)
Summer Phlox, Phlox paniculata
Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum
Jacob's-Ladder, Polemonium reptans
Great Solomon's-Seal, Polygonatum commutatum
Polyanthus Primrose, Primula x polyantha
Lungwort, Pulmonaria species
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis
Siberian Squill, Scilla sibirica
Goldmoss Stonecrop, Sedum acre
Showy Sedum, Sedum spectabile
Lamb's-Ear, Stachys byzantina
Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana
Nodding Trillium, Trillium cernuum
White Wake-Robin, Trillium grandiflorum
Tulipa Darwin 'White Valcano' and 'Cum Laude,' Parrot 'Blue Parrot,' Greigii 'Toronto'
Big Merrybells, Uvularia grandiflora
Canada Violet, Viola canadensis
Horned Violet, Viola cornuta
Woolly Blue Violet, Viola sororia
*These are based upon observations and not from clinical tests.
**Cultivars of some species may do poorly.
Plants That Do Not Grow Within 50 Feet of Drip Line of Black Walnut
Colorado Columbine, Aquilegia caerulea
Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
Asparagus, Asparagus offinalis
*Chrysanthemum Chrysanthumum species (some)
Lilies, Lilium species (particularly the Asian hybrids)
Alfalfa, Medicago sativa
Buttercup, Narcissus 'John Evelyn,' 'Unsurpassable' 'King Alfred' and 'Ice Follies'
Peonies, *Paeonia species (some)
Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum
Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum
European Alder, Alnus glutinosa
White Birches, Betula species
Northern Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
Apples and Crabapples, Malus species
Norway Spruce, Picea abies
Mugo Pine, Pinus mugo
Red Pine, Pinus resinosa
Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus
Basswood, Tilia heterophylla
Red Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia
Mountain Laurels, Kalmia species
Privet, Ligustrum species
Amur Honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii
Brush Cinquefoil, Potentilla species
Rhododendrons and Azaleas, **Rhododendron species (most)
Blackberry, Rubus allegheniensis
Lilacs, Syringa species and cultivars
Yew, Taxus species
Blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum
*Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii'
Annuals and Vegetables Transplants
Cabbage, Brassica oleracea capitata
Peppers, Capsicum species (some)
Tomatoes, Lycopersicon esculentum
Flowering Tobacco, Nicotiana alata
Petunia species and cultivars
Eggplant, Solanum melongena
Potato, Solanum tuberosum
double-flowered cole vegetables
*Cultivars of some species may survive but will do poorly.
The authors express their appreciation to Drs. M. Scott Biggs, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, and Harry Hoitink, Department of Plant Pathology, for their review and additional comments.
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July update on this bed after my husband being in the hospital for about 3 weeks and it didn't get properly tended...
Well we had a drought and the top and the east sunny side of the bed was drying out terribly..the west side did fine.
The lettuces were most of the crops on the west side and they grew beautifully as well as most of the cabbages are fine, a few died, not sure why. The corn on the top was OK but needed watering which I did when I had time, but I spent most of my free time at the hospital.
The east side had been planted to spicey asian and italian greens and they mostly bolted and died..also spinach that was there and some squashes weren't doing well, the spinach bolted and the squashes were barely alive. I decided to stick in some more tomato and corn plants on the east side and water water water it...we had very little rain the last half of June here.
I discovered that there was a LOT of clover and alfalfa seed in my topsoil, and that began to take over the west side of the bed among the lettuces..so I've been pullling that and dropping it as mulch but it is getting way ahead of me..and the top and ends and east side are bone dry even with a ton of watering..so I went and got a soaker hose and last night I put that along the top of the bed, down one side of top and back down the other side..so one on each side of the top..just got it in last night and we had a thunderstorm.
I've been getting lovely lettuces, the tomatoes are struggling as are the squashes, the corn is OK, the broccoli has already headedd..spinach is gone to seed, cosmos are doing fine, peach trees are leafing and branching..
I'm seriously thinking of tearing out everything that isn't doing well and bringing in perennials right away (which I planned to do this fall anyway)..as the annuals just aren't doing very well on this bed.
I definately can tell where the heat lovers and shade lovers need to go by the annuals experiment..and would appreciate suggestions for the hot dry areas..of the bed..even though I did put a soaker hose in i don't want to have to use it all the time.
I'm going to let the corn and tomatoes grow, the lettuce is still going strong for now but it will bolt when it gets really hot this July/August..so I think it will be replaced with perennials as I'm able. I'm thinking maybe trying to put currants in the cooler parts of the bed, put in some comfrey and maybe some rhubarb (although I have plenty)..I might leave a few of the clovers, but don't need the thousands that are growing there for sure..might even transplant a few of my strawberry runners onto the shadier side when the lettuce begins to thin out..but not sure about them so close to the peach trees..but it would be nice to have them at a nicer level for picking..easier for the old body.
Trying to get a sense of what to plant on the top where it will be really dry and on the east side..maybe I could move some of my herbs to those drier areas..like sage, thyme, etc..i have some that could be dug and moved there..that aren't doing really well where they are now, and always get swamped by other things.
at least they wouldnt' be demanding of water.
I also have some rooted cuttings of kiwi that could go on the shady side and up over some trellis if i was to build one there..that is a thought I've been muddling around with. which would also bring some shade to the overly sunny bed (also the peach trees will shade it as they grow up) and then maybe it will be a much healthier bed..as right now it is awfully hot.
anyway..that is my update..and a real learning experience..
I also have some areas of my rear garden that I've completely killed off every thing that was growing there (mostly quackgrass) that will totally be rethought..now that I can think again
(Ron was in the hospital with emergency neck/spinal surgery..he almost died but is doing really well now thanks to some great drs'..he has about a 10" scar down the back of his neck..back..
he had spinal fluid backing up into his brain, couldn't walk or use his arms or hands and was having troubles with inner organs failing..but with emergency surgery on the 12th I brought him home 16 days later in good shape)
your bed is absolutely beautiful..Mine is doing OK but had a gob of wild clover and alfalfa seed in the topsoil we used and I'm trying to pull and drop a bunch of it for mulch right now..but can't seem to get ahead of it.
My lettuces and cabbages are doing great, the peach trees are growing well, the tomatoes aren't doing as well as I'd like or the peppers, the squashes are tiny, the broccoli and spinach has bolted to seed, the cosmos flowers are fine..
the top and east side are drying out quickly so last night i put a soaker hose on the top..I think mine is a lot taller and steeper than yours but I really love yours..wish I had gone in that direction but I still can do that in another area in the future..(don't have the stones to use though)
I was having the same problem..in our drought the top of the bed and the east sunny side was really dry..the west was ok and lettuces grew well there..but everything burned up on the top and east side..i finally added a soaker hose to the top of the bed..(25 ' long, snaked a 50' soaker hose along one side of top and back along other side)..just did this last night before a thunderstorm so I'll see how it works..was watering it by hand which was a true pain in the......
in re reading my post above from 2011, I'd like to update here that that bed DID NOT WORK !! It was just too much clay in the soil in that bed and it failed miserably.
The problem was the clay baked to cement. Only a few things grew well in it..some kale, some catnip, podding radish..and that was about it. I had my son remove it this spring and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the lumber I had it boxed in with.
He removed all the soil to a pile we had nearby, and it sits there now. I just can't deal with a raised bed filled mostly with clay..the wood in it rotted well but it wasn't enough to make a real hugel bed as it was dry and cloddy clay on top of wood.
returning the area back to lawn.
I have another hugel bed on the property that I dug the topsoil out but not the clay..filled with huge rotting logs and branches and retopped with the topsoil..that bed is doing well however it had a lot of clover and alfalfa seed in it so i'm pulling and dropping as mulch a lot of clover and alfalfa..but that bed did NOT have a good deal of clay on the top like the previous one and it is doing quite well..but still dries out on top a lot
i guess for me it has all been free, and a good use of rotting wood that was going to waste on my property. My smaller beds I did a little at a time. As the crops were finished..i dug out the soil and set it aside..tossed in a lot of rotting wood pieces and branches, chips and bark that was already here, and recovered it with the soil I removed..those were my nearly flat hugel trench beds..the larger bed that I put in was cause we had about 8 or 10 large rotting logs that weren't good for firewood..I had my son strip the sod and about 2' of soil off of a small area (about 6 x 28) and then dump those large logs and some smaller pieces and some big round wood chunks that were too large for firewood..some bark and branches, etc..and then cover back over with the stripped off topsoil..this one is quite large and I have a garden on it this year doing well.
I have an abundance of downed rotting wood that can be buried..generally it is in brushpiles and woodpiles in the woods or just lying rotting for habitat for inhumanity..but the buried stuff is feeding my soil
I also use some on top of the ground around some of my trees and plants to help feed them and hold in moisture
there are also a lot of edible mushrooms that will grow on dead wood..so that might be a nice crop for you if you can identify them..check the mushroom sites on the internet for photos and descriptions
look around and see what was growing in the soil that got excavated..my hugel bed was full of seeds of clover and alfalfa, which popped up all on its own all over my bed..I've been dropping it as a mulch around my plants as I pull it, but it is very prolific..can't pull it all..so it will build your soil and hold the erosion back if you have that..or whatever might grow on it's own
I honestly like yours better than mine, although the wood does block some growing space, it would also hold in moisture..and being very vertical it would be easier to reach the top on yours than the top on mine, which is a real challenge for me to reach.