3 weeks ago
Building up Main Field, pt II
This is a really boring post, I just needed to get it out of my brain:
Main field has two primary production areas - 26 long beds (100') and 11 short beds ( 40'), all standard 30" market garden width. Pathways are 18", a bit wide and that caused some problems with constructing the caterpillar tunnels. Silage tarps were laid down beginning of March for occultation. We were asked to sacrifice a production bed between tunnels for a landscape fabric-lined pathway. I don't think it was a great decision. It's on my to-do list to pull back some of the fabric and sow a cover crop that's forage for pollinators. We lost 3 long beds and 1 short bed in order to make those pathways - 850 square feet of production space. 😐
There are obvious benefits, but I'm not sure how I feel about the tunnels yet. They are 14' wide and would perfectly span four production beds if we had < 16" pathways. But we don't, so the sidewall posts fall a couple inches inside the original raised beds. We've had to move a bit of soil around to maintain the 30" width - causing some noticeable weed problems. Cultivating the tunnel sides is also tricky since we have to move around those posts. Water hitting the tunnels (whether outside from rain or inside from the sprinkler system) is showing noticable errosion patterns in the beds, dependent on how high we roll up the sides. Interestingly, the weeds that grow in that area have shallow and densely branching roots - an attempt to hold the soil down for us. So I'm thinking of sowing buckwheat along the edge of the tunnel to crowd out weeds and prevent the errosion. But we'll be doing 10 beds of tomatoes and 4 beds of cukes, vertically trellised, 12" spacing!! Really looking forward to pruning being a part of the weekly schedule!