Moles, Chapter 2

So, I bet you thought I was going to come up with a story of vengeance. Surprise! I still like them, and here’s why: they push up these mounds of fluffy soil. All around them, the soil can be compacted like cement, but the hill of mole dirt is light, it’s airy, it’s the consistency of couscous.

One day Richard sent me out to shovel up the molehills in preparation for the arrival of the Kamoda to come in and mow the entire area (to call it a lawn would be presumtuous). As I approached each hillock, I became ever more aware of the treasure trove I was facing: each one offered a shovelful or two of delightfully aerated soil. I filled a wheelbarrow, and then it hit me: I could mix it with corn gluten meal to solve several problems at once.

Corn gluten meal is a weed seed suppressant. Locally, there is a place called
Concentrates where you can buy it by the 50# bag, as apposed to buying the name brand for many dollars more. It is pretty effective at surpressing weeds, but it is a sort of brilliant orangey-yellow that is not at all attractive in a flower bed. Here is what I do: I fill my wheelbarrow with molehill dirt, add corn gluten at about 6parts dirt to 1 part meal, which tones down the color of the stuff to an acceptable level, then apply the mixture in a number of ways:

Berms: I love berms, because they are a way of sculpting the land. When I dig a new bed, there are clumps of earth that pile up. I just move them to an area where mounded earth can create topographical interest. I feel like a force of nature, as I build new land formations at will. Once the configuration pleases me, I spread the surface with many layers of newspaper. If you saturate the newspaper thoroughly, it will cling nicely to the contours of the berm, and hold the mole mix in place as you shovel it on (next step). All you need to do when you are ready to plant is cut a hole in the newspaper. By the time the paper begins to decompose, you will have covered most of the surface with plant material.

If no berm is in the works, I simply use my mixture as a top dressing for existing beds. The weeding has become much easier since I devised this plan. Once summer heats up, the moles slow down…but then so do I.

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