With this week turning nice, warm, and dry it is time to start on the garden make over and preparation for the growing season. Yes I know that in the Willamete valley that you can grow some type of veggie all year round if you want to. This is my warm weather veggie garden section though. And this year I have actually planned out what will be planted where instead of planting as I get veggies. Because of a fence on the west side of the garden I found out when I planted corn in the back of the garden that it gets a large amount of afternoon shade. Which is not the best for corn, but is great for potatoes. So this year I am swapping the corn and potatoes. Potatoes do better with a little afternoon shade. The front side of the garden gets sun all day long so is perfect for those plants that need the heat and sunshine all day. If you look at the layout you will notice that the shorter plants are on the south side and the large to the north. This will keep the larger tomatoes from growing too high and shading out the peppers.
The entire garden was multched in the winter/early spring with a 4 inch layer of leaves to increase the organic content of the soil. Most of the soil in the area is river bottom clay so it can use a large amount organics to break it up and to hold moisture when the dry part of summer hits. I am trying to not use chemical fertilizers for any of my gardening. Everything is as organic as I can make it. Keeping it this way is hard due to the large amounts of weeds that were in the garden last year. So this year I put down a layer of black plastic and sealed along the edges. On a warm day with direct sunlight the temperature under the plastic will get hot enough to cook any plants and seeds that are underneath. This only gets any on the surface so any big root weeds like dandelion will most likely survive. But at least it will kill off the grass and chickweed hopefully. If not then I have a lot of weeding to do this season.
You can see in the picture that at least one dandelion was still alive after I took the plastic off. All of the grass and chickweed seem to be dead. Hopefully the seeds are sterilized from the heat and wont be growing back this year..
And that’s all for phase one. Mostly because my wrists and arms are hurting from two hours of using the rototiller. That and I hiked 10 miles yesterday. Now to let the soil keep drying for the next couple days then time to till one more time. After that I will be putting up a small fence up to keep out the passing kids that vandalized my plants last year. But that will be part of phase II postings.