It’s A Jungle Out There: Hugelkulture Update

It appears that I’ve finally hit on a gardening strategy that works in my inhospitable clay soil. After a few years of playing with raised beds, my hugulkulture experiment is yielding fabulous results.

pumpkin-patch

My pumpkins and cucumbers are waist deep. I wasn’t able to get my cucumbers to climb the wire trellis I put in place for them – instead they spread out.

baby-hugel

Who knew when that when I planted in June that this path between my cucumbers and tomatoes…

isle

would turn into this. It’s all but impossible to walk down the aisle between the cucumbers and tomatoes. It is impossible to walk through between the pumpkin and cucumber beds.

pumpkin

I made the mistake of setting my garden fence a little too close to the beds. The pumpkins have no room to spread. Once they filled up the space around them, they traveled across the cucumbers and into the tomatoes. This pumpkin (I have no clue what kind – field or sugar because they’re all so intertwined) escaped the fence and is growing outside the garden.

tomato

I’ve never had such success with my wooden raised bed and earth boxes.

cherry

I’ve got cherry tomatoes planted in my hugelkulture, Earth Boxes, pots on the porch and in my wooden raised beds. The hugelkulture plantings are doing the best.

plums

The same is true with the plum tomatoes.

cukes

Although the cucumbers grew “out” rather than “up” they are flourishing.

So, a few lessons from this summer so far:

  • I’ve only watered them three our four times this summer with the soaker hose. This is mostly because I’ve had very little home time to even think about the garden. I needn’t have worried that the IRT mulch would keep water away from the plants.
  • If you don’t keep up with staking the tomatoes, you end up with a wild, unruly mess, but the tomatoes are still there – just harder to get to.
  • These hugelkultures are working so well, that I should have put a little more space between each bed.
  • A garden needs breathing space – before setting posts for my permanent garden fence, I need to increase the perimeter!
  • I need more hugelkultures! Combine these with a greenhouse and there’s no telling what we can grow.
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