Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Hesco Garden

Modern war, like ancient war, requires cover and concealment. The Romans used elaborate earthen-works around their camps to help keep the enemy out. World War I saw a proliferation of trenches and bunkers. Even today, there is no quicker way to gain a measure of safety than to use a bulldozer to push a big pile of dirt up around your position.

A clever British company called "Hesco" designed a simple product that makes it even easier to throw up huge, thick walls of earth wherever you can find dirt and a bulldozer. Take a frame work of mesh wire walls open at the top and bottom, line it with a durable cloth, and voila, you have the "Hesco Barrier" (or "Hesco Bastion"). The Hesco Barrier is ubiquitous in Iraq, and along with the cement T-wall, provides all the blast protection that the military relies upon for its safety.

Rows of Hesco barriers surround the tents, headquarter buildings, and porta-johns that comprise the Army bases dotting Iraq. Using a Hesco bastion is 10 times faster than filling sandbags.

Several rings of Hesco barriers surround the old Iraqi-army barracks where I live in Kirkuk Air Base.

Now for some backstory:

- It gets really hot during the Iraqi summer, like 120F-for-60-days-straight hot
- I like tomatoes.

One day I thought to myself, "What better way to take a positive attitude towards the lethal heat than to plant some tomatoes? Tomatoes love heat. I love tomatoes. My loathing of the summer weather will be tempered by the joy of watching my seedlings flourish."

Thus was born the Hesco garden.

Tomatoes like full sun, good drainage, and a raised bed. The Hesco barriers around our barracks provide all that in spades!

So I had Joan mail me some seeds (corn, peppers, & tomatoes). I created some starter-pots out of used water bottles and found some good soil down by the drainage ditch that runs behind the airstrip.

Today marks the 13th day since I put the seeds in the ground, and the first day I saw two little sprouts come up from one of my starter pots. Yay!

Viva La Hesco Garden!

1 comment:

Susan Besser said...

Yeah for tomatoes!! Yeah for your brilliant idea. I'm glad to hear you found an ideal t-spot. Keep us posted. Mom