Sunday, May 21, 2017

Field Prep pt 2-- Creating the Crop Rows


With the rows formed in the yard, I decided to try a trick I learned from some urban farming videos.
The idea is to cover and plant my crops using some weed control fabric. In the fabric itself, you can cut holes to where the plants go. This is especially useful for keeping the distance inbetween plants consistent.



Starting with some weed control landscape fabric, I purchased some that covered the width of my beds and cut them to length. If you are going to attempt this, shop around to find a good deal on the fabric.
I laid it out across the fields and staked it down with some wooden stakes. I eventually came back and got some reasonably priced landscape staples to help hold down the trouble areas (and to help string up the trellis system, but we'll get there later). You can find these on the same aisle as the fabric.


Once the fabric is laid out, it was time to make some holes for the plants. There was a lot of cardboard lying around, so I found a few pieces to cut into my hole pattern template. For a 36" wide bed, there are 5 rows spaced offset at 6" spacing. A jar lid helped to draw the circles for where the holes are cut on the cardboard.


From the cardboard template came to cutting the holes on my fabric. One method I've seen this done is to use a propane torch to burn the holes into the fabric. As quick and easy as that looked, I do not own a propane torch. I decided to cut the holes manually with a knife. This was a long, painstaking process.



Eventually I got all the holes cut in the first sheet. This bed will be for denser spaced crops, like lettuce, beets, beans, Swiss Chard, and kale.


For the other fabrics, I made a new template with 8" spacing (4 rows on this one). Instead of using a knife, I brought out a scissors, which worked much better. It took about 30 minutes to do each of the later beds with the scissors.


With the holes marked, now I'm ready to start planting!

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