When I first moved to Big Ugly in early 2013, I learned that Marcelle was a kindred spirit about gardening. We both aspire to be Garden Goddesses. As we walked about the yards we talked gardens and garden spaces. Marcelle was, it seemed to me, overly occupied with which way the light would be coming in and which way the plants would spread (toward the southwest). Now, of course, I know that plants need sunlight to grow. We learned that in 1st Grade. What I didn’t realize was that I had never gardened in a steep “holler” before. Big Ugly Creek is at the bottom of a very steep holler. The bottom land is narrow and the walls of the holler rise about 1000 feet with such a steep slope that it would be very difficult to walk up the side without ropes strung from tree to tree. Big Ugly Creek runs primarily east-west. So the southern wall of the holler blocks the light as the sun get low in the sky.
Lesson learned: When gardening at the bottom of a steep valley, canyon or holler, pay special attention to the light and maximize the sunlight on the garden. My garden beside the house did fine last year and this year, but when I tried to bring another piece of land back into cultivation, the lack of light became a real issue.