Even though it is too late to really get a garden going, I figured I would at least plant some squash beds. I’m putting them among the trees in my orchard, so it is relatively shady right now, but hopefully one we clear a little more, the sun will kick the plants into full gear and we will have some squash this year. I wish I had more time earlier to plant a garden, but it just didn’t work out that way.
I believe I have talked about hugelkulture beds before, but in case I haven’t I’ll do so quickly now. Hugelkulture beds are basically compost piles that you grow your plants right in. There is a bit of layering to do, but a really easy set up depending on how big you want to go. I made about a three foot bed for each kind of squash. This style of bed should be a good growing bed for years to come. It feeds the plants very well as the compost breaks down right in place. The decomposing organic material also acts like a sponge and holds water right in place where the plants need it. However, they are also a raised bed and will adequately drain if there is too much water.
What I did was dig about a three foot wide hole, just deep enough to get the topsoil and put it aside.
Next, I piled big rotting logs into the hole.
On top of that I piled smaller rotting logs and on like that for a bit.
On top of the layers of rotting wood I put a layer of leaves.
The final layer was the topsoil I had saved. I had to get a little more topsoil from around the pile since the pile was pretty big. I would guess about two feet tall with the soil on top. Then I planted the seeds kind of randomly throughout the pile, trying to give each one room. They were probably more close together than you would normally plant squash, but I felt that the huge amount of food and moisture that these beds would provide would be more than adequate even if all ten plants grew well. I don’t really know, but we will find out.
Here is a video on hugelkulture from the pros at permies.com.