Giant-Bar-Code-On-Plastic Gardening?

Dateline: 9 February 2017

After yesterday's post about using recycled billboard plastic for making a minibed-on-plastic garden, I found an article about someone who used a recycled billboard tarp to make the bar code garden pictured above.

The bar code lines are cut-out sections of plastic. You can learn more and see the mature garden at This Link.

This idea is, of course, a clever novelty. It's not a gardening idea I am recommending. :-)

Recycled Billboard Tarps
For Minibed-on-Plastic Gardening

Dateline: 7 February 2017

The following comment was posted to this site yesterday by Andrew Enjaian...
Herrick, I think this idea has a lot of potential, and I'm eager to see how it unfolds for you this year. My two cents on the plastic:
These are 11mil vinyl: black on one side and a design on the other. I've used white ones for years for animal shelters. The sizes aren't square since they were once billboard signs. Most sizes are 10-16' wide and 20-40' long and they are CHEAP. Right now they have a 20'x60' tarp listed for $108. Most 16' wide sizes are in the $30-50 range. Not sure if vinyl has any strikes against it for garden uses, but I've used the same ones outdoors for years with no problems. 

From what I've been able to determine at the web site, billboard vinyl is UV-resistant and safe for plants and fish ponds. I'm not sure about ink used to print on the plastic, but for more money, you can also get new billboard plastic. As Andrew says, the material is very reasonably priced.

I ordered one of the billboard tarps this morning. I'm going to use it over a section of lawn adjacent to my garden. Also, one of my sons wants to make a Minibeds-on-Plastic garden this year and a recycled billboard tarp will make the project a lot more affordable for him.

Billboard "tarps" are much thicker than the bunker cover plastic I now have on my Minibeds-on-Plastic experimental garden.

Thank you, Andrew, for the great idea!

A Pea Scheme For Minibeds

Dateline: 26 January 2017

Pea roots from my 2016 garden.
Notice the nitrogen-fixing nodules.

A 'scheme' is defined as "a systematic plan of action." I am now in the process of developing numerous schemes for my Minibeds-on-Plastic experimental garden. My pea scheme will be one of the first experiments. 

Pea seeds are planted as early in the spring as the soil can be worked. They are planted long before warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, and corn.

And one of the great things about peas (besides the peas themselves) is that they develop nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots. If the nodules in the picture above are not clear, here is a closer look at nitrogen-fixing nodules...

If pea roots are left in the soil after the pea crop is harvested, the nitrogen in those roots is released into the soil. They become fertilizer for other plants.

In the picture at the top of this page, a whole bed of pea roots like you see were left in the soil. I just cut off the top of the plants. And then I planted the bed to garlic. That was in the fall. This spring, the growing garlic will have a reservoir of readily-available, natural nitrogen, which is something that young garlic plants can really benefit from.

So, with all of that in mind, my pea scheme for minibeds is to plant peas around the inside perimeter of numerous beds as soon as the soil can be worked. That will amount to a 9' row of peas in each bed.

I will use the proper inoculant to make sure the pea roots get the bacteria they need for maximum nodule development. Yes, the inoculant really does make a difference.

By planting only the perimeter of the beds, the middle ground will be open. After the weather warms up, and it is time to plant tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, etc. I will move the pea plant tops away from the center of the beds and plant the summer crops. 

When the pea plants are no longer producing, I will simply cut the topgrowth away, leaving the roots in the soil. Thus, the new plantings will receive the fertilizing benefit of the nitrogen in the nodules.

Will this scheme work like I think it will? Well, that's what I'm going to find out. Stay tuned...


If you are not familiar with my Minibeds-on-Plastic gardening idea, click here now: Minibeds-on-Plastic Introduction