|Steps 1 & 2|
|Steps 3 through 5|
We used our simple hiller on Rosie (the tractor) and created row hills that are only slightly smaller than the bed size (step 3). The soil is a little rough at this point for planting. It would probably be fine if we were using a mechanical transplanter - but we aren't at this point, so we like a slightly finer tilth just to make it easier on our bodies. That means we run over each hill once with Barty (the BCS tiller - step 4) to make the planting area human friendly. Also, the finer tilth helps to better cover the root balls of the transplanted melons. We then use our wheel hoe to create a shallow indentation the length of the bed (step 5).
This whole process gets the melon plants slightly above the soil surface of the surrounding areas. If we get a heavy rain, this should keep the plants' roots above the 'it's too wet' danger zone. Also, the hills tend to increase the temperature slightly at least early in the season.
|Step 7 and 8|
The row in the center of the picture above is reserved for our borage planting. We will seed it in directly in a single, densely planted row. This hedge serves to attract pollinators, add some beauty AND provide a barrier so different varieties of melons don't decide to get in each other's way. This is only important if you're trying to harvest without harming a later maturing crop (which we are).