Monday, May 9, 2011

Systems

Mulching first, then planting is the best idea I've had in a while. It's a huge time saver.
For example, I used to plant a tray of peppers into bare soil, align the irrigation perfectly, then put salt hay down in between and around all of the plants, careful not to cover up their stems. Today, I laid salt hay over the entire bed and irrigation lines, then simply put the pepper into the hay, brushing excess hay out of the way with my hand. This is probably something a lot of people do. It takes me a while to get a good system down.

Revision: It's 2013 now, and I've changed my mind about this whole issue. I was really excited about this at the time, because it meant that I didn't have to reach around the plants with tiny stacks of straw, tucking it under leaves and getting it all over the place. However, pre-mulching the bed presents a problem that I think is bigger than the one it solves: irrigation. All of the irrigation is below the mulch. If I turn the drip line on at the time of planting, and I wait to mulch, I can plant each head of lettuce exactly at a drip site, so that each plant is being irrigated directly. If I mulch first, I can't see the drip so I can't plant accordingly. I should mention that my drip system is not so great, and if a plant is a few inches off the hole, it might suffer. So, back to old systems I guess. 

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