But what about the pumpkins?

 The seeds were sown the other day, more than a few weeks beyond when I would have normally sown them.  But I’m not worried because not only is their bed not ready, it hasn’t been filled or even built because I’m still umming an erring as to its location.  This delay has a knock on effect for the irrigation of the rhubarb, globe artichokes and yams.  The final position of the pumpkins will determine the most effect route for the irrigation pipes and therefore the orientation of the header pipe the drippers will come from in these beds.  At this point it could be North, South, East or West!

Irrigation conundrum
The irrigation system for the Yams, Globe Artichokes and Rhubarb is in limbo until I know what is going on with the pumpkins.

I have allowed a generous 6 metre long bed, that’s one metre wide.  The plan is to let the pumpkins grow out into a large area beyond the bed, so they can sprawl to their hearts content.  This is the last bed to be built because the last of the soil was sitting on their spot.  I just couldn’t visualise it.  I asked everyone what they thought:  East – West or North – South?  I tried moving it around on my plan and thought I had it right.  Then I went outside and tried to imagine the plan in action.

garden layout
This looks about right…

The problem is the top end of the garden is narrower than the bottom end. Continuing with the orderly soldier like rows of the bottom half positions the pumpkin bed weirdly in the space available. It isn’t aesthetically pleasing, or it finds itself smack bang in the centre of the path to the chicken coop. Both of these options aren’t suitable and so will bother me for the rest of my days if I rush this decision.

garden layout
In line with the front of the fruit cage…

The fruit cage – well it will be one when I build a structure over it, but for now it is a collection of fruit beds in various states of preparedness, runs opposite to the rest of the garden.  But it is behind the dome and it is symmetrical within itself and once enclosed will be its own thing within the garden.   It is just the space on the other side of the path to the chicken coop that needs thought.

building beds
Now to whack it all together…

It is a good sized space – over 8 metres in one direction, but it tapers so it is just over three metres at the top and about 6 metres at the other end.   It is just where to put this bed without it looking silly.  I don’t really want to angle it along the taper as it will ruin the aesthetic of the whole garden, but logically this will be the best place for it.  But running it alongside the path on the other side will just look weird too as it will be disconnected to every other bed in the garden.

Built beds
There is plenty of space for the pumpkins to sprawl

I did think about splitting it up into two beds and creating symmetry that way and I think it may just work.  But I can’t really know for sure until I’ve seen it.  I’m a hands on visual kind of a person.  So, I kindly asked my awesome builder if he would mind using his digger to move my mountain of soil to clear the space, so I can ‘visualise’.  Gosh that sounds so airy fairy!

Filling beds with a mini digger
This has to be the best way to fill beds – quick and easy!

Once the space was clear, I ran a few string lines along strategic points.  From the chicken coop door down into the heart of the garden.  Across from the front end of the fruit cage and up the back side of the garden so see where things line up there.  I then eyeballed where the fence would go and then within these perimeters I start dragging planks about the place to find the best fit that makes the best use of the space and looks aesthetically pleasing and balanced.

Filled beds
And just like that something I had been procrastinating for several weeks over was taking care of in an afternoon!

I finally settled on two beds not one – for balance.  To fit in with the taper of the space the front bed is four metres, but the back bed looked ridiculous at two metres, so my pumpkin growing capacity increased by a metre square and I get to have another plant which was an unforeseen benefit.   They are lined up along the right side so they are in line with the path to the chicken coop and will run nicely along the angle of the fence line on the left hand side of the garden.  They have a large area between them for the plants to sprawl in a controlled and contained manner.

Pumpkin seeds
And all I need to do now is wait for the pumpkins to pop up!

Once that was decided and I got everyone to gather round an confirm my decision – not that I was changing my mind now, I think I was looking more for affirmation “Sarah the Gardener you are a genius and have used this space wisely!”  No one said that though.  They all just nodded their heads and went back on with their jobs.  So, I grabbed some brackets, my drill and some screws and made the beds permanent in no time at all.  Then my awesome builder came back and filled the beds with his mini digger with dirt from the pile he’d moved previously.

And all I need to do now is wait for my pumpkin seeds to germinate.

Come again soon – I can now say without a shadow of doubt there will be tomatoes this October.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

8 thoughts on “But what about the pumpkins?

  1. Sarah the Gardener you are a genius and have used this space wisely!

    Being a more impulsive snap-decision sort of gardener I admire your careful thought and planning!

  2. I see your logic for the pumpkins, but what goes in there next time in the crop rotation program? It can’t always be a vining crop, but if you are like me, there is always a need for a “grow-on” pot area and that might fit nicely in the spacious area between the beds?

    1. I have decided to take a calculated risk with the crop rotation. There isn’t anything too serious that will bring them long term harm and the biggest thing for concern would be nutrient depletion. However if I sow a cover crop, green manure over the winter and make sure the beds are well enriched before replanting them. I’ll also have good garden hygiene and remove all trace of the plants at the end of the season. I may regret it in the future but only time will tell. : o)

  3. Water would be paramount in your site with ‘excellent’ drainage. We are on rain supply and have only ever hand watered but it’s taking me too long. Can you tell me how you decided to use the irrigation system you have, is it expensive, more effective use of time and water? I’m debating what to do with my garden water wise.

    1. Hi Tricia. The sand seems to be more absorbent than I expected, which has been a nice surprise. We are rain water too. I have collaborated with Gardena to have the Neta system installed in my garden. They put it in my old garden and I was so impressed I made sure it was in my new one. It is really easy to assemble and the bits and bobs are readily available at Mitre 10. I found my swamp soil filled beds only need watering for 9 minutes with the drippers before they spill out onto the sand below. I have 4 drippers / square metre and according to my calculations (and my maths isn’t that great) I’m only using just under 20L per metre every 3 – 4 days. Currently I am just plugging the hose into each bed, but soon I hope to connect them all up so I can water six at a time through a water computer. Aside from that it frees up a lot of time to do other things like weeded as standing there with a hose can be quite tedious and I’m never sure if I’m doing too much or not enough. I hope this helps. If you need more info, just ask, I’m happy to help. Cheers Sarah : o)

      1. Water computer? Our garden would be a similar size to yours. Can u give me an idea of cost to set all that up? Also do I contact Gardena by email or go into m10 to get the right advice? So many questions!

        1. Hi Tricia. Gardena have some great watering tools – check out these water computers: https://www.gardena.com/nz/products/watering/water-controls/. Also to plan and design your irrigation check out http://netagarden.com.au/your-garden/irrigation-planner/ (owned by Gardena). If you need any help, the team at Mitre 10 should help or you could give Gardena a call, they are really helpful, or you can ask me too (I’m their brand ambassador, but would have recommended their products anyway because they are awesome.) The irrigation planner is a great place to start. I hope this helps. Cheers Sarah : o)

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