Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday June 5th, the only real dry day where we had a chance to get our peppers in for the year, and while overnight lows still are hovering around 50 degrees, we decided this year to try out "plastic mulch" and hooping our peppers with a combination of row cover and plastic. The family affair started with Katherine and I amending the beds, setting up the drip irrigation system, prior to rolling out our plastic. These beds had been in a winter cover crop or rye, vetch, and cow peas and had been turned over four weeks prior to this bed preparation. What's the white stuff? Lime, organic, to increase the pH of the soil so the nutrients in the soil are actually available to the plant. We rolled out the plastic, modifying our drip tape roller by taking off the roller part and inserting a long pipe into the grooves of the frame (sitting on top of the garden cart) and slipping the plastic mulch roll over the pipe. I held, Katherine walked, and we went down each bed, stapling the plastic to the ground. After that we set about taking inventory of how much of each type we had. We committed 3 beds to sweet peppers and 3 to hot peppers on 12" spacing. I'm thinking of covering each hole made for the pepper with compost/mulch as a means of inhibiting weeds at the base of each plant. Once the plants were in we began installing the 4' diameter hoops that were made with Johnny's Hoop Bender. Unlike the video, we used some heavier gauge electrical conduit and big props to Damon Quade for cutting and bending the majority of those beasts. The heavier weight of these hoops allows for larger spacing between each one, at least for remay applications over the top. Finally, at twilight, after having covered 2/3 of each hot pepper bed with plastic row cover, we finished the final 1/3's with agribon. The sweet peppers we covered only in agribon. This weekend is our first trial with how the peppers survive in some real heat. The soil is saturated from a month's worth of rains and the earliest we may start irrigating will be next weekend. To view a slide show of the steps, see the top right part of our blog. Clicking on the slide show should give you the option of seeing it in full screen format.