Suspended Animation

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Greenhouse Progress

Following a ridiculous amount of manual labor this weekend, the greenhouse we started last fall is closer to being put into service.


The pressure treated wood framework over two 3′ x 20′ hugelkultures is complete. One pvc bow is in place across the ridge pole. Only fifteen more to go and we’ll be ready for the greenhouse plastic that’s on order.


This picture was taken last fall shortly after I wrote about the fiasco of Mother Nature conspiring against me. Torrential rain set in before we’d finished building the hugelkulture beds. Without the loam that is the final layer of the hugelkulture bed, the ditches filled with water and the rotting logs I lined the bottom of the hugelkultures floated to the top. I almost threw in the towel then. Actually, in my fit of temper, I think I threw a few things, but the towel wasn’t among them.


A December warm up melted the ice in the hugelkultures and I jumped at the opportunity to “fix” the beds. I painstakingly pumped the water out of both of the 20′ long ditches and then muscled the logs back into place. What had been nice layers of logs, twigs, compost and leaf mulch is now all mixed up. Picture a layered salad that someone came along and tossed. Finishing off the ditches with loam is as far as we made it last year.


As Paul worked to finish the greenhouse framework, with a little help from the girls, I worked on the garden beds. The loam, re-purposed from raised beds was littered with small rocks. I got it in my head that I needed to screen the soil to remove the rocks. I manually dug up and sifted approximately 3 1/2 cubic yards of soil today.


The top 8 inches of the hugelkultures got screened along with the soil from the last raised bed that I’m sacrificing for the greenhouse. Needless to say, there’s not an inch of my body that doesn’t hurt tonight.

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