I’ve mentioned my greenhouse from time to time. We’ve been planning a green house for years. We started small with two variations of a cover for my raised beds. We talked of a hoop house and then possibly re-purposing a tent frame structure into a greenhouse.
This fall we finally committed to a greenhouse plan inspired by a snow and wind resistant greenhouse Paul saw online. He drew up the plans, but our version includes hugelkultures. A 20′ by 10′ greenhouse over two hugelkulture rows with an aisle between. Our first hugelkulture garden was such a success this summer, we figured we couldn’t go wrong with this plan.
It took a few days spread over a few weekends to dig the ditches for the hugelkulture beds and build and set the three greenhouse frames. Given the autumn rains, we had to pump the ditches out twice. Paul did much of this and I pitched in the extra pair of hands when necessary. The plan is to get the beds finished this fall, ready for greenhouse plastic and spring planting.
With the threat of winter upon us, I’ve been feeling an urgency to finish up the beds. A week or so ago, Paul and I spent a Saturday hauling rotting logs out of the woods to line the bottom of the ditches. I spent an entire Sunday raking about two tons of leaves for mulch to fill the ditches. The chicken and duck coops got cleaned out and the wood chips and poo spread out over the leaves. All that was left to do was to add the top soil saved from a couple of old raised beds.
Before we could take that next step, the weekend was over and I had to work. Then the rains came. Then the freezing weather came. I began to fear that my top soil would be frozen and we wouldn’t be able scoop it up to move it into the beds. This weekend we had a reprieve. On Sunday the temps warmed up to a balmy 48 degrees. This was my chance!
I diverted Paul from cutting wood and we went down to study the ditches. Ditches that had filled with water. Again. Water that was now frozen on the top despite the warmer temps. But no, that wasn’t the worst of it. Not by a long shot. Those rotting logs we so painstakingly hauled out of the woods and lined just so in the bottom of the ditches? They are now FLOATING willy nilly in the top of the hugelkulture ditches.
I had a meltdown. A complete and total temper tantrum that would do a toddler proud. I swore (something I rarely do). I stomped around. I threw my rake. I yelled at Paul when he suggested it would be okay and we could simply put dirt on top. When I couldn’t think of anything else to do, I banished Paul to the wood lot and stomped back into the house, slamming the door and kicking my muddy boots across the mud room.
I’m not proud of my reaction, but I was so FRUSTRATED that it just bubbled over. And ANGRY. Angry at myself for waiting to finish a job that I knew needed finishing – not taking time off from work to do it. Angry at Paul for not being a miracle worker. Angry at mother nature for messing up my plans with January weather in November.
Now, I’m faced with two 20′ x 3′ trenches filled with floating logs – my mulch sitting on the bottom. I don’t even know how to begin dealing with the mess. Do I put it off ’till Spring? Pump the water out of the ditches, haul the logs out, arrange them back in over top the leaves and find new mulching material to lay? There goes my early start to gardening in my new greenhouse. Do I try to fight mother nature and tackle it now?
I’m not typically so whiny. I usually attack things head on, but in this instance Time and Mother Nature have gotten the best of me!