Dad and I bought a contractor’s underlayment day before yesterday. 20′x100′ of black plastic, 6 mil thick. That was the foundation of my garden. Today I unrolled the plastic, realizing in the process that before today I had no concept of how long 100′ really is. I used the area the pigs have been “tractoring” as it’s $70 to rent a rototiller for the day and $350 to buy a used one. No budget for that, and I had this nicely turned and fertilized ground! Once I’d rolled out the full length of the plastic I cut 7 1/2′ off one long edge for Dad to use to line the troughs in the greenhouse. That leaves me with 12′ x 100′, approximately. I had gone beyond where the pigs were, so I cut about 20′ off the end, which I will put off to one side tomorrow, if I have enough soaker hose.
The next step was to find, fix, and wrestle into place 250′ of soaker hose under the plastic. I’d had to stretch the plastic out to measure and cut it, but this step would have been a lot easier if I’d been able to do it before that. Between the plastic and the soaker, I will have to do minimal watering and weeding. The soaker hose is easy to cut with a shovel, and ours have been mended many times. I fixed one cut and mended a complete break in the hose with a connector.
Anchoring the edges was the hardest task. I couldn’t find enough large rocks to do the edges, which Dad thought I would. Kinda cool, actually, considering how much rock we have in places. Means this garden area will be easy to work. So to hold down the plastic I shoveled around the edge, putting a continuous layer of dirt on about 8” of the plastic. I did this for about 50’, using the rocks I had for the remaining 30’. This wasn’t easy…
I stopped and took a break a couple times while I was working, and drank liquid. I rarely sweat like that – dripping – but today I was a bit wobbly in the knees when done. I turned on the soaker hose and let it start while I went back to the house for the three sisters seeds.
I planted the north edge of the garden with Mammoth Sunflowers, pole beans, and sweet corn. I did drop in a few pumpkins, which I will have to watch since I don’t want them taking over the garden. The south edge, also where I had trenched to weight the edge of the plastic, I planted to shorter cutting sunflowers and bush beans (which are really old seed, 1996, it’ll be a miracle if any sprout). I plan to plant at least another 20×20 plot not under plastic to three sisters as well. Some of the seeds are really old, so I am heavily sowing. Corn will do all right, I think. Stored dry it will germinate after years. The beans, I don’t know, and the pumpkins that are more than about 3 years won’t germinate, I know from experience.
All that was from 6:00 am to 11:00 am. I can’t work in the heat, it makes me sick. So now I can get dinner in the crockpot (venison stew) and get ready for working at the library. Quiet time! Tonight when it’s cool again I will start setting out some of the starts from the greenhouse into the plastic. Not sure where I’m going to put carrots, that soil is pretty heavy.