Yesterday I went on a tour of Windhorse Farm, a sustainable farming and forestry operation located up the LaHave River from Bridgewater.
I was most curious to see their brush walls. When I first heard about Windhorse’s brush walls last winter, a light went on in my head. Here was the answer to several of my problems, including the strong north wind chilling the garden, and large amounts of brush available.
Windhorse’s brush walls are piles held in place by stakes 6 feet apart, making a thick wall. As the brush gradually breaks down, more is piled on top. Vines such as squashes and grapes are encouraged to climb over the brush, and in summer, the brush walls can be completely hidden by vegetation.
My picture also shows a higher brush fence that has been woven around taller stakes. In fact, it’s about 7-8 feet high, high enough to keep out deer.
The brush walls contribute greatly to the success of Windhorse’s garden. They enclose and shelter it, holding in heat. The decomposing brush adds to the fertility of the soil. And very importantly, the brush walls provide habitat for all sorts of wildlife, including the friendly critters that help control garden pests.
I started building a brush wall last spring and will continue to develop it.