Permaculture forum: My gardens, are they leading to permaculture?

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Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Eric4home
Jun 25, 2014 1:57 PM CST
We have often started new beds by what we called the lasagna method. Because of our hard clay we lay a heavy layer of cardboard and paper directly on the closely cut sod, then adding a generous layer of sifted compost treated with dolomite lime. After planting we mulch with a natural untreated 30% leaf mulch. By the 2nd year it is pretty easy to dig even below the level of the paper.

In my garden I use a lot of compost and mulch with straw and green clippings which is later turned in. Over winter any clippings and garden scrap in piled and burned in the spring to produce a small amount of biochar, which is turned in. The soil in my garden has reached the point that I would never till it. I simply turn it with a big fork and rake it out, the idea of tilling it to a powder does not appeal to my sense that it's fine the way it is.

Now I have 2 questions.
We are planning to add a large bed 3-4' x 45-50' for tree peonies. Would it be good in the long term to incorporate Hugelkultur in building this bed. We abut a woodland and deadfall is there for the taking.
Also, since I don't rotate all garden crops every year would using Hugelkultur in my hilled crops and raised bed be an improvement? I thought using deadfall would speed up the degradation of the wood and not inhibit moving beds around that much.
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: joseph wittenberg
high desert (Zone 8b)
Permaculture Region: California
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grizzlyjoe
Jun 25, 2014 4:16 PM CST
Using hugel for trees and bushes is always a great idea. In the end it is most beneficial for trees and bushes so it sounds like the tree peonies would really benefit from it. Depending on the orientation too you can get a larger south facing slope that you can plant plants that would benefit the tree peonies while they get established. I don't really know what they need, but I'm sure there are a ton of companion plants that can provide some soil cover, nutrients, and stability.
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
Eric4home
Jun 25, 2014 11:14 PM CST
We are planning to do some mass plantings of bulbs and possibly a slow growing ground cover. or short herbaceous annuals like Begonia semperflorens. Since peonys need good drainage and fertile soil it occurred to me using hugel with our lasagna method my be beneficial.
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 26, 2014 6:45 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Hugelkultur definitely lends itself to good drainage and fertile soil. I have found very few plants that don't do well in a hugelkultur system. But just like any raised bed, you have to include other good soil along with the wood.

I think you're on the right track here. All of our beds are never tilled and each year they get better and better. I think the beneficial soil microbes continue to increase the longer the bed is left undisturbed.
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
Eric4home
Jun 26, 2014 7:11 AM CST
Thanks Dave, That's the track I'm headed down. We have tons of finished compost (just add lime) to work with, and I've considered adding mushroom soil (it's cheap and available in our area). The mushroom soil is usually weed free, as it was steamed before use, and full of microbes and fungi by the time the growers dump it. Smiling
Ric of MAF @ DG

Charter ATP Member
hazelnut
Jun 26, 2014 1:53 PM CST
I found out the hard way that I cannot grow peonies -- tree or herbaceous peonies--here in Zone 8 West Alabama. The soil is acid, climate hot and humid, and fairly warm winters. Can't grow apples because we can't meet the chill requirement.

Peonies do have a chill requirement -- I would say Zone 8 is not suitable for them. Also they do not like acid soil. They grow great back home in Zone 4 Northern Michigan with long cold winters, and glacial soils. So give them what they need and they should do well. Hugelkultur is an added incentive to make them do well.

And They are so beautiful. The flower that inspired chinese pottery decorations since Ming times!

http://www.thegardenwindow.com/site/1435430/page/368897

Good luck and send us a picture!
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
Eric4home
Jun 27, 2014 12:26 AM CST
Thanks hazelnut, I'll add that to my reference list. I'm also seeking input from the peony forum.
Ric of MAF @ DG

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