The New Future Garden

Written by Paul on December 3rd, 2017

I am now officially converting the Cow Paddock where the cows wintered and more recently the few remaining cows have been hanging out to a new much larger garden. The goal has been to get at least an acre in production and this will make a big advance on that goal. It should be about 8500 square feet of growing space when its done. It will be mostly veggies but this will take some time to get to that because a lot of soil building must take place. Even though the cows have been on this paddock for about 25 years, it still has very thin rocky soil.

I began by building a swale along the contour about mid-way on the slope. The swale has sheet mulching with wood chips over cardboard to capture water and any sediment that flows down the slope. This will allow runoff to slow down and sink into the ground where it will be available for a much longer time. Typically, water flows to the bottom of the slope where it pools and creates unfavorable conditions for growing. In order to control weeds, I am going to employ a system which has been used quite successfully by a number of small scale farmers. The system simply eradicates weeds and their seeds by covering the area in heavy tarps which inhibit germination by eliminating the light and then allowing the seeds to rot. Curtis Stone explains this way better than I can.

My cow, Clovelly (Milking Devon) has eaten most everything down to the ground. This will allow the tarp to sit very close to the ground and smother everything. When I pull it off in the spring, I will ensure that all the weeds that germinated are killed by using a gas flame weeder. This will allow the vegetable seeds to have little competition. Hopefully.


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