Jon La Foy wrote:Follow on questions: Should I use raised garden beds (there's some at the house already)? What about guilds? Hugelkultur? Should I worry about water collection (for plants) when I would get roughly 50 inches of rain per year, throughout the year?
Rick English wrote:I think the answer to most of your questions are: it depends
I have lived most of my life in Pennsylvania in both zone 6 and 7. I have gardened at 4 different places in the past 10 years.
Even though they are all roughly the same environment, they each required different approaches. The soil was different, the sun exposure was different and the slope was different. Plants thrived in some locations, but not others.
I would say to use what already exists at your new home, and observe the results. Might be that the people that put in your raised beds knew what they were doing, but it may also be that they didn't. They only way to know is to try them out for yourself.
Observe what is growing happily in your new neighborhood, and grow similar things in similar ways.
You will likely need to worry less about water at your new home, but I still use hugels and plant to add swales and ponds, because I am currently on sloped land, so the water runs right off. That is a drastically different scenario than my last home in river bottom on flat land with deep rich soil. Only 25 miles apart, but much different growing environment.
I would maybe start making a list of what you want to grow, and most of it will grow in zones 6 or 7.
John Wolfram wrote: Here in Indiana, we also get a lot of rain. While irrigation usually isn't needed in the spring, the summers can be quite dry. 2013 was particularly bad from what I recall. That being said, since you have access to municipal water and a relatively small plot there's a good chance it would be more cost effective to simply rely on city water for the period of drought.
Tyler Ludens wrote:Do you have a design for the property? If not, I would definitely start there, with the basics of an integrated design. Even in a wet climate water should be the first thing to think of, if only to make sure you can direct excess away from flooding your gardens and house!
Tyler Ludens wrote:I'm talking about system design, not plant design. Plant design should come after all the infrastructure is in place.