Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Preparing the Pepper Beds

It was a busy weekend in the garden preparing the in-ground gardens for planting. Once the Kennebec potatoes were planted, the rest of the plot was prepared for the peppers.

The garden was tilled with the Mantis to aerate the soil and blend in the compost. The soil was raked smooth and 3.5 foot wide planting beds for the peppers and walking paths in between were plotted out. The paths in between were tamped down with my feet giving me solid footing to walk in between the planting rows. Then, soaker hoses were laid out:

The plot was blanketed with solar mulch. Before laying the solar mulch down, I used a drill and a small drill bit to drill numerous holes through the solar mulch about 3-inches apart. This will allow some air and rainwater to go through the mulch. The solar mulch is used to help warm the soil, conserve moisture, and keep the weeds down:

Small cages were put in place to support the peppers as they grow. These also help hold the solar mulch down:

Depending on the weather, the peppers will be planted into the garden around Memorial Day weekend.

The second potato plot was also planted over the weekend and will be shown in a later in the week. Unfortunately, the rest of the second in-ground garden will have to wait until next weekend to be prepared. Rain began late Saturday afternoon and is expected to continue all week. At least the garden will be watered.


  1. While I feel the soil in my raised beds has warmed up nicely this year, it feels like the weather just isn't warm enough for me to consider putting peppers out for awhile. I took a gamble and put out a row of tomatoes REALLY early, and so far they've been doing really well...but last nite I put hotcaps over them since it was supposed to dip down to the low 40s.

    Definitely ready for warmer weather. Maybe I should crawl under a sheet of that solar mulch?

  2. Looking good! I was surprised that you're zone 5A!

  3. Jeph: I won't plant out my peppers, tomatoes, or eggplants until after Memorial Day this year. Our nights are still too cold. I have tried to push it in the past and all they do is sulk with no growth until warmer weather hits. No use stunting them.

    Toni: Yes, I am in zone 5A. It seems strange to just be getting ready when others in warmer climates are harvesting already.

  4. We needed the rain, but now I'm ready for it to stop. I want the sun back.

  5. I already have my tiny peppers out. I hope it wasn't to soon. I am in Z 6. I have thought about covering those with milk jugs as well, but I ran out after covering the tomatoes. It's unusual for it to be this chilly in May here.

  6. It has been chilly here, too. I can't believe it's almost June! We had a frost a few nights ago and I had to cart in upwards of 80 seedlings inside for the night. I just want summer to come!

  7. Daphne: I agree. We did need rain, but a whole week of it? Next week doesn't look too promising for sunshine either.

  8. Shawn Ann: Our last frost date (or the one I am using this year) is May 20th. I try to plant the warm weather crops after that date. Our nights are still quite cool.

    Prairie Cat: I am still shuffling seedling in at night and out in the morning. I think I have about 60. I use small trays to carry a bunch at a time. Hopefully warmer weather will be here for all of us soon.

  9. Looking good. I too am waiting for the time when it's at least a bit warmer outside. The rain is nice but needs to stop for a while!