Last Year's Garden And Notes On Plastic Mulch

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Last Year's Garden And Notes On Plastic Mulch

Postby Dogfish » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:18 pm

I figured I'd post some photos of last year's garden because it was kind of a neat success, for me anyhow.

There are some irritating issues I have to face with my garden, namely these:

-- Wild temperature swings every month of the year (from 30 C during the day to 6 C or less at night) which makes trapping ground heat important.

-- Weeds like nobody's business, mainly Russian Thistle and pigweed.

-- Precipitation that ranges from completely dessicated to mucky slop.

-- Watering that, if it occurs to often, costs a lot of money and settles salts into already alkaline soil.

-- Mosquitoes like hellfire.

-- Very pregnant wife and about a month's worth of travel over the growing season.

I decided to lay black plastic over seep hose and plant in holes cut, periodically, about six inches wide. The wide garden I ran seep hose through; the skinny potato garden I just cut six inch holes every foot and took my chances. The potatoes were French Fingerling and the red one, some sort of obscure but extremely tasty wax potato with a red core.

I planted mainly squash in the big garden and could have upped the density substantially -- but it was an experiment. I think I'll run two or three hoses this year and absolutely choke the garden. It's very possible because the plastic prevents moisture from being lost, and you can see how few weeds there are. It also does not look so bad as you'd think, especially once the plants have grown up.

<table><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ldD3eg8CzwL1M_0ikMF_wwxw5VFIYZUUOuaDDt6JAq0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oav4TgE6SvI/T5LlXaiIPeI/AAAAAAAAAis/Z22LJkxsj50/s800/Baby%2520and%2520garden%2520004.JPG" height="800" width="600"></a></td></tr><tr><td>From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/102722372691053052807/DropBox?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCOe28rbej4GMlwE&feat=embedwebsite">Drop Box</a></td></tr></table>

If I'd brag at all (because I have no luck so far with carrots, beets, lettuce, or anything else), I've actually pretty good at growing tomatoes; I'm the only one I know who can get them ripe without a greenhouse around here. I learned that sunlight isn't as important as heat, and they don't like rain, and they like explosive fertilizer. So: 5 hours sun on the south side of a house with some sort of heat battery, in this case a concrete patio; no rain contact, constant watering, and plant over top of one women's calcium-iron pill, a book of matches, and four .22 shells worth of gunpowder (calcium and iron, phosphorus sulphur and trace elements, and massive nitrogen). No catfacing, no end rot, no yellowing, incredible growth and taste. The tomatoes shown were picked September 20 or so.

This is the potato garden immediately after removing the plastic. No irrigation, and the potatoes laying on the soil. I got about 80 lbs of potatoes from a 300 sq ft patch.

<table><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/6Svfgk-i3irNMCWVrmXYNwxw5VFIYZUUOuaDDt6JAq0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-BgGduzPOK1s/T5Llpgfg6dI/AAAAAAAAAic/wLlGdzgxeTs/s800/Garden%2520etc%2520005.JPG" height="800" width="600"></a></td></tr><tr><td>From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/102722372691053052807/DropBox?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCOe28rbej4GMlwE&feat=embedwebsite">Drop Box</a></td></tr></table>

This is the main garden. You can see to the left what I had to work with by way of weeds prior to the plastic. Looking north. You can see the pile of red potatoes: that is one plant, and I had planted it at the end of a channel on the plastic the water would run in. Those are laying on the soil. One plant gave about 3 gallons of potatoes. That's what I think they would all produce if watered well. But look at how clean that dirt is! And it held water like you wouldn't believe with the plastic: maybe 20% humidity and I only had to water once every two weeks or so.

<table><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yhVw8iudXFXgqbMYkI760Axw5VFIYZUUOuaDDt6JAq0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-7wKX-6798E8/T5Ll8SwSGnI/AAAAAAAAAik/52rQrrz_dyg/s800/Garden%2520etc%2520004.JPG" height="600" width="800"></a></td></tr><tr><td>From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/102722372691053052807/DropBox?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCOe28rbej4GMlwE&feat=embedwebsite">Drop Box</a></td></tr></table>

Pretty cool. I'm going to plant my cold-weather stuff in the next week hopefully; the main plant date around here is May long or the first weekend in June. Right now though the frost is still in the ground albeit down a foot or so.
Dogfish
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Postby NCPaul » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:23 pm

It certainly sounds like a garden you had to fight for. The plastic mulch sounds like a good solution to your problems. Keep posting photos. :D
Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Postby Dogfish » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:45 pm

Yeah you can see those thistles -- just brutal.

Funnily enough though, the thistles keep the aphids off the plants; the aphids seem to prefer the thistles. Many of the stalks were black with them, but I had no issues at all on my garden plants.
Dogfish
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Location: Central Alberta/Vancouver Island


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