Pumpkin, Melon + Kumara – hurrah!

forkstaAction stations my gardening friends! Block yourself out as much garden time as you can manage this month. You’ll find me toe deep in soil every weekend.

Summer goodies need to well and truly get underway. Sow seed and prep beds (I cant imagine life without my Forksta!) for long term crops like pumpkin, melon and kumara. It’s worth the push to plant these out as early as poss for deep rich flesh and long keeping qualities. There is however, one small obstacle in our way – right about now the soil is way too cool. My outside beds are only 10° , yet 20° is what these summery crops need to boom away. We need tricks! Create raised ridges or mounds and put up an old window or plastic covered cloche or lay black plastic on the soil.

I’ve been relying on the same sheets of black plastic to warm my cool spring soil for years. While I’ve done my best to make these sheets last as long as poss (dried and folded away once they’ve done their job), they’re starting to get ratty and will likely end up as rubbish in due course. Aghhhh. Weaning off plastic is a process aye, one thing at a time.

As for spring soil warming, I’ve scratched my head for an alternative here – plastic is so great at this job! Until I ran into my mate Sean who may have saved the day. They’re stepping out with this cool stuff called Mulchfilm. Sean knows a thing or two about growing vegetables organically – he’s been running Common Property where the vegetables for Common Sense Organics are grown, as long as I’ve known him.

Mulchfilm is a biodegradable (as in actually biodegradable), plant-based film that suppresses weeds and warms soil. Yus! I’m looking forward to the test run.

Yours in the earth,


  1. Sue Patterson says:

    Hi Kath,
    How tall should my kumara tipu be before I detach them from mother and plant out? They are just under 20cm.
    Thanks for your excellent advice to date!
    Sue @ Murch

  2. Sue Patterson says:

    Thanks Kath. I will crack on with it!