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Our attempt at a no-till pumpkin patch  RSS feed

 
Gary Lewis
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Location: Maine, USA
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Hi all

We are starting a pumpkin patch using a simple no till method. We cut a strip in a field near the house using the lawn mower, then placed weed mat on top. We then spaced our seedlings (raised in seed pots indoors to escape any late frost surprises) by cutting crosses in the mat and coring the soil through the holes. We then usined some recycled wood to hold the mat down - and will add some grass clippings to hep the mulch process.

You can see photos and more details here. No-till pumpkin patch

Maybe it will be a failed experiment - but we are excited to give it a try.

Gaz
 
Su Ba
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Sounds like a very interesting experiment. I'm really curious to see how it will turn out. Please keep us posted!
 
Gary Lewis
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Location: Maine, USA
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Su Ba wrote:Sounds like a very interesting experiment. I'm really curious to see how it will turn out. Please keep us posted!


Thanks Su Ba! I am sure we will have to tweak the process....but we are all about reducing work load and saving the soil!

Gaz
 
Bryan Jasons
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Location: Maine
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Oh cool, another Mainer!

That weed mat is fancy! I tried a similar experiment this spring as well; I threw approximately one hundred left-over winter squash seeds into a pile of half decayed mulch and then covered it with newer straw. I figured some of the plants wouldn't make it through the straw, so I over-planted the patch on purpose. I thought that if it worked it would be a convenient method, since all I would need would be the straw. I planted in early May and got 0% germination for a few weeks. So I gave up and dug a straight line through the mulch pile, exposed the soil, and planted into the resultant mulch-canyon. As of June 8th, the two piles of mulch to either side of the bare row have dozens of squash plants growing in them! My theory is that the mulch kept everything cool and slowed the germination, then when it got warm out in June they "woke up".

We should have a giant squash competition. I believe it's reasonable to expect at least a few 400 lb. squash on my end. Butternuts get that big for sure...
 
Russell Olson
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Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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My pumpkin patch is a jungle of burdock, nettles, and thistles in the off season, since I don't plant here in Minnesota until late May, I get a nice layer of organic mulch from chopping down everything. No tilling but I do have a dozen or so mounds of good soil/compost I plant into among the chopped mulch. It seems to work well for my needs, I usually provide all my friends and family with pumpkins for Halloween and have plenty for other uses too.
 
Gary Lewis
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Location: Maine, USA
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Bryan Jasons wrote:Oh cool, another Mainer!

That weed mat is fancy! I tried a similar experiment this spring as well; I threw approximately one hundred left-over winter squash seeds into a pile of half decayed mulch and then covered it with newer straw. I figured some of the plants wouldn't make it through the straw, so I over-planted the patch on purpose. I thought that if it worked it would be a convenient method, since all I would need would be the straw. I planted in early May and got 0% germination for a few weeks. So I gave up and dug a straight line through the mulch pile, exposed the soil, and planted into the resultant mulch-canyon. As of June 8th, the two piles of mulch to either side of the bare row have dozens of squash plants growing in them! My theory is that the mulch kept everything cool and slowed the germination, then when it got warm out in June they "woke up".

We should have a giant squash competition. I believe it's reasonable to expect at least a few 400 lb. squash on my end. Butternuts get that big for sure...


Hi Bryan (What part of Maine??)

I picked up a roll of weed mat at a yard sale for few $ (man - I never buy anything new...and most of my items I pick up at the local dump)......I did not realize at the time how much I would use that weed mat! Its awesome stuff...but cardboard would have been my other option.

Good thought on the mulch stopping the soil warming in early spring - that makes a pile of sense to me.

I LOVE butternut squash. Where I grew up they were called Butternut Pumpkins and we ate them with so many meals - soup, baked etc... I still love them! I have some growing in a raised bed this year...they are off to a slow start. My patch was just for carving pumpkins.

Cheers

Gaz

www.almostafarmer.com

 
Gary Lewis
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Location: Maine, USA
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Russell Olson wrote:My pumpkin patch is a jungle of burdock, nettles, and thistles in the off season, since I don't plant here in Minnesota until late May, I get a nice layer of organic mulch from chopping down everything. No tilling but I do have a dozen or so mounds of good soil/compost I plant into among the chopped mulch. It seems to work well for my needs, I usually provide all my friends and family with pumpkins for Halloween and have plenty for other uses too.


Great Russell

I hope to provide them for my family this year. If the system works I will expand it the following year and see if I can sell a few to passers-by!

Gaz

www.almostafarmer.com
 
Bryan Jasons
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Location: Maine
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@Gary/Gaz

I'm in Scarborough.

Is the weed mat reusable? Some are and some aren't I guess, but I've never used any. I've seen old rugs, pool tarps, rubber mulch, etc. but I don't have that sort of stuff lying around, I'd probably have to check the dump for those types of things.

 
Gary Lewis
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Bryan Jasons wrote:@Gary/Gaz

I'm in Scarborough.

Is the weed mat reusable? Some are and some aren't I guess, but I've never used any. I've seen old rugs, pool tarps, rubber mulch, etc. but I don't have that sort of stuff lying around, I'd probably have to check the dump for those types of things.



I am in Casco.
I have not tried to reuse it (yet). Our dump is an amazing place to pick up good gardening and general farm stuff. This is a great time of the year cause all the folks from away' come and spring clean taking things to the dump Tables, sinks, windows, tools...just about anything. Sad to see such waste...but good for me

Gaz

ps Gaz is an Aussie nickname for Gary
 
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