to berm or not to berm

…is not even a question. I love berms, and everything seems to grow bigger and better in a berm than in flat ground.

molehills650.jpg

The moles are industrious little fellows. Whenever it rains, or wherever we water, this is a typical scene of their work. I might scoop up the light, fluffy soil as many as four or five times, only to have them push up another mound. I could grind my teeth and hurl expletives their way, but instead I praise my little crew for providing me with a steady supply of material.

bermnew643.jpg

Above is a shot of a berm in the early stages. I know, at this point it looks like a burial mound. Weeds, clippings, hunks of dirt from edging beds, etc. get dumped here until it reaches a height and shape that appeals to me, bearing in mind that it will settle over time and flatten to maybe half its height. It will then get a thick mulch of newspapers. I work with about ten layers at a time, watering thoroughly so they will lay down and stick together. There must be wide overlapping, or else grasses and weeds will find their way through the mulch. I extend the papers a couple of feet onto level ground, then border the mound with rocks. Cliffs line the roadway from our place into town. I hailed a highway patrolman one day to ask him if it was permissible to pick up fallen rocks along the verge. His bemused reply was that he didn’t see why not, as long as my car was parked well off the traffic lanes. I now stop frequently to load up the floor on the passenger side with the largest rocks I can find.

bermdry644.jpg

So that is a berm ready for planting, with just a couple of plants in place. The rock border does double duty: it holds the newspapers in place, and holds back the soil from migrating into the paths. Here’s where those molehills come in. Each time I get a wheelbarrow loaded up with mole dirt, I add a couple shovels full of corn gluten meal to counteract the weed seeds I know are lurking in there. The mixture is spread over the newspapers until nary a headline is visible. When a plant goes in, I just poke a hole and cut away enough to dig a proper hole. Eventually there will be little sedums and such creeping between and over the rocks. Cedar shavings cover the paper mulch outside the rock border to create a path and prevent surrounding grass from encroaching on the berm.

bermrhody651.jpg

The above berm is further along, with plants beginning to fill in. I am experimenting with ground covers here, but even with quite a bit of bare ground, the weeding is much easier to manage than in the in-ground beds. The few weeds that do appear are usually shallow-rooted (catch them before they penetrate the paper mulch) and easy to pull out.

berme653.jpg

The first berm, on the east side of the house, is beginning to get a little crowded. It has been promised a round of dividing and pruning come spring. Restraint is a hard lesson, and that new, currently bare, berm is bound to fill up fast…especially with the HPSO fall plant sale coming up.

So there you have it: my formula for berm building. Best of all, all materials discussed here were absolutely free. More money for plants!

8 Responses to “to berm or not to berm”

  1. sprig to twig » Blog Archive » berm supremacy Says:

    […] time, from the same source, planted directly in the ground. I sang the praises of berms earlier here. That was before the observation came up that a berm, before planting, looks like a burial ground […]

  2. joco Says:

    Hiya Ricki,

    What a find you are!
    Don’t ask me how I got here, as I can’t remember,but I’m glad I did.
    I love the clean simple look of your site. So wonderfully uncluttered and fresh.
    And now I finally found out what a ‘berm’ is. Such a brilliant concept. Actually I realize that I must be a spontaneous ‘bermer’ without realizing it. Not as organized and talented as yourself though. I used landscape fabric to temporarily ’store some dug over soil. And guess what? It made itself into a flowerbed. Foxglove, primroses, even a small shrub. Amazing. I will now start doing it purposefully. (Is that a word I wonder.)

  3. ricki Says:

    Joco: I get really excited when a new voice pops up in comments. Welcome! My first berm was an accident too. We had a load of topsoil delivered, and after distributing as much as we could, there was a big pile left over. It soon became apparent that anything planted there grew like it was on steroids.

  4. Mohamed Says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your

    site? My website is in the very same area of interest

    as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from
    a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you.
    Thanks a lot!

  5. www.hselaw.com Says:

    You could definitely see your skills in the work
    you write. The world hopes for

    more passionate writers like you who are not afraid
    to say how they believe. Always follow

    your heart.

  6. Muriel Says:

    hello there and thank you for your information - I have

    certainly picked up anything new from proper here.
    I did however expertise some technical points the usage of

    this web site, since I skilled to reload the web site lots

    of times previous to I may get it to load correctly.

    I

    were puzzling over if your hosting is OK? Now not that I’m complaining, but

    slow loading cases times will sometimes have an

    effect on your placement in google and could harm your quality ranking if advertising and ***********

  7. Tipsjitubola.Blogspot.com Says:

    I think other site proprietors should take this site as an
    model, very clean

    and fantastic user friendly style and design, as well as the

    content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  8. Katrice Says:

    What i do not understood is if truth be told how you are

    now not actually much more smartly-

    preferred than you may be now. You are very intelligent.
    You understand thus considerably in the case of this subject, produced me

    in my opinion consider it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women are not

    fascinated until it is something to do with Girl gaga! Your
    individual stuffs great. All the time handle it up!

    Also visit my site Katrice

Leave a Reply