Since potatoes, pumpkins and melons take up so much space I have decided to extend the garden out of the protected arches. I only got 5 pumpkins from a big area of the arches – hardly enough to last a few weeks in the pumpkin soup season.
Potatoes grow under straw and I have a feeling that the melons might cope with being planted into mounds of compost on the straw so I am peparing the bed now. I have seen a garden where little cages were put over each pumpkin so I am collecting stuff to make cages from should the time come for protection.
This garden is going from the outside of a row of fruit trees over to the fence. It will solve the problem of grass invasion into the agapanthas planted along the driveway and we will have a straight line to keep the grass away from the fruit trees rather than needing to weed big circles around each tree. The crop will be planted well away from the drip line of the trees.
We used the trencher on the tractor to dig a shallow trench and backfilled it with coarse sand. Sleepers were laid, backfilled on the edges and rammed up tight.
Any grass/weeds were mown and left in place. A layer of cardboard or 6 sheets of newspaper, well overlapping was spread over the entire area and hosed to get it quite wet.
Old slashed weeds mixed with ash and charcoal were spread and watered well.
A fairly thick layer of lucerne, (bought from the side of the road and cheaper than straw) was spread and watered.
Next I am going to spread some old cow manure, straw from the chook house and yard, some home made compost, autumn leaves, corn stalks and anything else that will give it bulk, topped by some blood and bone. On top of the lot will go another layer of lucerne.
Poly pipe has been run to the beginning of the bed. We are going to run it all the way down the sleepers and run micro sprinklers from it. The garden is now supplied by a huge tank so we can go back to sprinklers for this section of garden.