Monday, 14 May 2012

starting a new vegetable bed

We decided to put in a new bed in the field west of the pool. It is about 52 feet by 26 feet. Last weekend our farmer friend, Charlie, came over to till it. The soil is sandy loam so it was easier to till than he expected. But having been fallow for years it is filled with quack grass, twitch grass, milkweed, vetch and goldenrod. I am fighting despair when I think of all those chopped up weed roots, each of which just can't wait to sprout a whole new plant.
Charlie tilling the field for the new bed
Having consulted on exact dimensions Charlie gets back to work

We decided to have some permanent features so the north border will be a "hedge" of black and red currants and gooseberries. This weekend I planted three Red Lake Currants, three Wellington Black Currants and dug up two gooseberry suckers from our plant in the "white" bed.
Fledgling currants on the north border

The west border is now planted with raspberries; 10 Fall Gold, 12 Killarney  and about a dozen stray red raspberries from Charlie's patch. The Fall Gold were from a nursery and so had leafed out, the Killarney from another farmer who took them out of cold storage and of course Charlie's were suckers from his established planting. The Fall Gold looked the best at planting time, the ones in cold storage have yet to break dormancy and Charlie's were definitely looking less than happy at their change of address. But it will be interesting to see how things progress as the weeks go by.
Raspberries with a mulch of straw

I decided to transplant some self seeded sunflowers to form a border along the south side.

The other project this past weekend was to rake out a north/south path. We've put down a black tarp to try to kill off some of the weeds so the east/west path will have to wait until we lift it in a couple of weeks in preparation for planting.
Black tarp and the outlines of the north/south path

The plan is to put potatoes (French Fingerlings, Banana, Yukon Gold, Dark Red Norland and John River Blue) in two of the quadrants. I think I will put down cardboard between the rows and mulch with bags of leaves I saved from the fall in an attempt to foil the weeds.

One other quadrant will be summer and winter squash. I'll make hills of manure and compost plant the seeds in and then lay cardboard between the hills. Between the cardboard and the squash's huge leaves that will be the strategy to foil the weeds in that section.

 And the final quadrant will have the bush and pole beans to add some nitrogen to the soil and build up the fertility.

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