My approach to vegetable gardening is to grow as much as possible in the minimum space. This means efficient use of vertical space, and using otherwise unusable areas. So it was clear that the wide paths between hugels needed to be utilised some how. I decided on the use of arches to grow vines over the paths without impeding wheelbarrow access.
Hugel bed edging
Technically sunken and traditional hugels don’t need any kind of edging, but I found that when rebuilding hugels, low edging (10-15cms tall) helps catch soil that pours off the steep sides of the hugels. I cut strips of corregated iron, about 20-30cm wide, dig them into the ground, and staked with lengths of re-bar.
Cabbage moths are the bane of every gardener’s life. I had advice from a very experienced permaculturalist that she doesn’t grow brassicas in summer at all. I changed my strategy to deal with cabbage moths so that I no longer plant brassicas later than September. In February, summer brassicas are planted under Cabbage moth protection netting.
I discovered in my first winter that artichokes thrive in our coldest months and provide a microclimate for sensitive plants if placed on the windy side of a bed. They also look good when very little else will grow, and produce copious amounts of artichoke hearts.
Watermelons (sort of): I’ve never had any success with growing watermelons, but I’ve had so many successes with hugelkultur that I thought it would be worth persevering. By late January in my second summer, I managed to grow two baseball-sized fruit, but the vine was cut by the rats, so they never had a chance to mature.
My mini-green house is constructed from a large piece of left-over clear plastic, HDPE poly pipe, duct tape and gaffer tape. It isn’t the best greenhouse ever, but it kept my cuttings warm enough to root, and preserved many of my most delicate plants from the snow and frost.
For the first time I planted oats, broadbeans and rocket lettuce (arugula) as a green mulch. Legumes and oats rehabilitate the soil, provide mulch and hugel building material, and keep the soil alive, vital and active