I spent the day digging. And digging. And sweating in the rain.
Sometimes when gardening, you hear about these great things. You put them into practice and then find they are a head ache, a heart ache and a nuisance. Such was today.
When we moved into this place I tried instilling some of the same garden practices that I had in the mountains. There was more than enough room to carve out a niche garden out in the woods. BUT In an urban setting, the same practices had disastrous results. Not in a Titanic sense; no one died but believing the touted ‘greatness’ was the first step in that ‘sinking ship’ … ladies and gentlemen, may I present the hugel mound. Before you draw your ire at me, let me say good for you if it worked in your setting.
In my urban setting we had a huge fir that the neighbor offered to take down (disregard he had ulterior motive) and so it came down. With that much wood, we got rid of what we could to people needing/wanting firewood but still needing disposal of the other brush, it was cost prohibitive and what to do? Hugels seem to be the logical solution. Little did I know (being new to the neighborhood) that there were problems just lurking on the other side of the fence and beyond.
Hugel mounds are the perfect nesting grounds for urban rats. The neighbors never shut their rubbish bins (if they can get it in the bin) or leave it bagged in the gutter. The maze of fence rows become super highways for rodents. Congrats! You have just created a wonderful habitat for vermin. Look at it as a B&B. And rats aren’t just content with eating garbage scraps but also your vegetables and fruits. Rats also don’t care where they defecate: grow box, fence, pathways. Or what they chew on. Or where they die. Needless to say, in less than one season, I obliterated the mounds.
Today I was digging in an effort to move the little sickly Asian pear tree and dealing with the underground portion of the hugel. I have very sandy soil so much of it had not rotted away, not to mention the root system of the big fir that was cut down years ago. Hugels are great in the right place and time but what works for another, may be more work, more head ache and a heart ache for you. It is a wild world out there gardening. Knowledge is power. Learn from your mistakes and if you are more fortunate, learn first from another’s mistakes.