I prepared my garden space by tilling and conditioning it with wood ash, sawdust, and leaves. I built the base for the potato box, since I want to build this up and not out. I have never planted potatoes but I wanted to try. I purchased some rolled fencing that has 2×3 inch rectangular holes in it for my trellis. I used a small section last year for my cucumbers, and it worked great. I was going to run rope for the plants to climb on, but as I started with it, I noticed too much play in the rope and eventually would sag. I did not want to keep fixing it later so fencing was the next available option.
To water the garden, I purchased a 300+ gallon cube tote and hooked it up to the gutters we installed 2 years ago. We just got a couple of good rains, and the tote is overflowing. I am strongly considering purchasing at least 1 more. A couple of years ago, I bought 2 55 gallon barrels for our front flower bed. To keep them from being an eyesore, I broke apart some pallets and lined the outside of the barrel to make them to appear as wooden barrels. That was a great success. To the water tote, I will do something like that but create a “wellhouse” look to it. No one wants to look at a plastic tote that has a metal exoskeleton. Once I do this, I will document and do another post for your information.
I started my seeds 10-12 days ago. They are growing strong. I started with toilet paper rolls to be able to stick it straight into the ground without disturbing the roots. I quickly ran out. So I improvised with paper cups I made from old bills and students’ work. I guess I could theoretically say, “I am sorry, but worms ate your work.” After seeding 300+ of them, I ran out. So I will be making more. I found bread delivery trays, and cut them shorter to fit in my grow area.
I bought a bag of strawberry plants, I have 4 viable plants growing. Hopefully the other 4 will survive (not looking good for them). I have squash (2 variations), cucumber, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, cantaloupe, and watermelon started. I will also plant okra, corn, green beans, onions, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. I am getting seedlings from my mother-in-law. I may plant more, if I had time.
I haven’t decided yet, but I will more than likely line the area of the garden between the rows with old worksheets from my students to act as a weed barrier. Newspaper would be better, but who receives newspaper anymore? My school’s library don’t even receive it anymore. I have used cardboard in the past, but just don’t have enough. I will probably break them down and put in my compost. I figure if people are cardboard for worm castings, it should be fine in the compost.
I will try to find some type of mulch to use. I don’t want to use bag mulch since it is processed so much. I am looking at hay, pine needles(checking if it will make my soil to acidic) or just buy bulk mulch from a landscaping yard. If you have any suggestions, I would welcome your responses and ideas.