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Cavities & critters

 
Jo East
Posts: 6
Location: United States
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Have a five yr old hugulkultur with big air pockets functioning as bunny highway. Dug a shallow trench about thirty feet long , crescent shaped to capture downhill flow (get between 4-18 inches rain/year). Put in big logs & slash, mix of ponderosa, piñon & juniper, dumptruck load horse manure layering with soil to about 4 ft high. Planted w mix of NM natives and some hybrid willows (near bottom on wet side). Mulched w wood chips. Had to irrigate plants some the first couple of years, and some occasional spot watering (blue spruce--it's New Mexico). Problem is mound is not collapsing as material decays leading to large cavities in center of mound. Pocket gophers tunneled in. Trapped them, but rabbits further excavated and are now using the hugulkultur to bypass wire fence and dine at will. For every one we catch, three more take their place! Wish we'd incorporated more manure in clay soil covering mound. Even damp, it's really difficult to knock down. Using a bar to try and collapse the top, but have lost about a third of the plants.

Made an older bed about same size of slash and manure, and planted for the bees. Had some gopher issues, but bed has subsided fairly well. Still lost some plants, but it's New Mexico. Swales and chip basins function really well in this arid climate.
 
Helen Butt
Posts: 4
Location: Leeds, United Kingdom
books food preservation forest garden
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I feel for you!
 
Jo East
Posts: 6
Location: United States
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Thanks. Theoretically I love wildlife, so I should be happy they're getting a nourishing diet--practically-- I'm thinking if I eat them, it's one way of recouping all my backbreaking labor!
 
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