Garden planning for spring


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Ok, o got the go ahead from the better half to do a raised bed. I'm planning for a 5x16 hugel bed. Yes 5. But I have a good reach and the center is basically a buffer space. I may put marigolds down the center. I will also have a triangular bed at one end bringing that end to a point. That will be either a flower bed for pollinators, or herbs. Not sure yet.

What I do want is a few tomato's, a few bell peppers, a few hot peppers, cucumbers, squash/zucchini, carrots, onion and potato. I'd love to do lettuce but our heat makes that a challenge (I like iceberg, wife likes spinach). I've been trying broccoli, but can't get the squirrels from stripping the leaves. What else could I try in this bed that will play nice down here?

What about green beans? Do they provide all season long, or all at once and will I get a decent harvest from one or two plants?

What are some other veggies that don't take so much space? pretty much everything so far is pretty large.
 
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Before you go crazy tell me how the ground water will consistently wet that mound. The reason I ask is because without that constant natural feed of water the wood will not rot, but rather preserve, and will destroy your hopes and dreams of fertility. Also, you might as well try nitrogen fixing plants the first year. Build it now and plant peas, clovers and what have you. Nitrogen feeding plants like tomato will have real problems. Try them in the second year.
 
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It will be watered regularly and a good portion of the wood I will be using is already rotting. Several love that have been used as seating around the fire for years. They are soft and falling apart. So they are well on their way.

I take it your not a fan of the hugel method?
 
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Big fan actually, but the single mistake will be placing it in a dry spot. It must follow 2 rules. One, it must be placed in such an area that natural rain runoff collects to wet it, and Two it must not be placed parallel to a hill or positioned such that large amounts of runoff build up a ponding effect on the uphill side for the safety of anything below it, as it is not structural and will fail with an onrush of water.
 
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It will be contained within a raised bed, wooden wallswalks around it. If it gets washed away, a few veggies are the least of my worries.

There are no real hills around to speak of, but the area does get soggy with a good rain. More so than most of the yard. Except my driveway which annoyingly floods at the end.
 
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Hmm.. basin type raised bed sealed away from the earth below? Or is it more a pile of soil on grade with a surround to keep it from washing?
 
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Not sure I'm following you. It will be a typical raised bed structure (1x6 3 high). I am planning a small amount of weed barrier just at the edges and then cardboard to kill of the grass underneath. Then the logs (split, some are large) and then soil. I've seen similar setups frequently enough on here and other sites.

So it's not sealed away, it will drain directly underneath as I'm only building side walls. Both for asthetics and to keep it from washing away in a hard rain.
 
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Ok. So one way is to drill or dig holes vertically DEEP and stand wood in the holes. Way more wood than you might think gets used this way, but...if the wood stays wet cool things can happen and it lasts a helluva long time. If you make a shallow one though, the wood grain will hold water better if it is horizontal to the ground and rots faster if you chop it into smaller pieces so it has more surface area. Do you disassemble the pile every so many years and spread the richness on the lawn to get past the need to rotate crops or do you have another program?
 
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Then I have one geological thought for you.

The term Hugel Kulture has germanic origins. Europeans. These countries are so far north that the upper boundary line of the USA if followed across the Atlantic, will run you into the origin areas of the hugel, which has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years.

They are not humid up there. Nor are they hot. They do not exist in a place where the very air can sustain mold growth on the side of a building as we see here in the south. Just sayin..its different here.

Now, consider how much faster your pile of mouldering fungal goodness will grow at your high (zone9?) temps vs zone 2, 3 or 4 like where hugels came from in Europe. The breakdown there is simply slower given the lower annual heat energy state. You may overcook your grits with such a rich fuel source down here. The problem would be continous fungal fight, a continous battle of pathogens we already fight made worse by the buried fuel source you created on purpose.

Fuel for thought. It is why I have not done one myself. No real need and it has a dark side. We had 60 inches of rain last year. I am considering mushrooms grown in my old firewood though. I understand spore laden wax plugs can be placed in the wood and it will turn out nicely. Shiitake and other types are possible.
 
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alp

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Good idea! For tomatoes, only grow sweet ones. They have been so well researched, so it's a good idea to get the best flavour. No point adding sugar whilst cooking them. I have fallen in love with my toms. Not all of them, but those like Sungold, Rosella are Sugar Drops have proven to be assets.

Shitake mushroom has a lovely flavour, but it does take time. How about Morel? I have seen a video of people just chucking spores into the yard and they grow everywhere! Even the kids join in the harvesting.. Quite hilarious! I am sure your 2 year old will enjoy that. But be very careful. Only buy the spores from reputable and trustworthy sources.

Go for sugar snap. Sweet in flavour and quick to yield. Much better than Mange Tout. Salad leaves is a good choice as well. Get the quick salad leaves and you will have harvest in no time!
 
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