Planning for the 3 sisters … and some geese (423)

by Max Akroyd

Regular readers may recall that I traded four piglets for two ducks (already installed next the polytunnel and happily awaiting the birth of eight offspring) and two geese. Plus some other ducklings at a future date. Well, the arrival of the geese is scheduled in the next week so much of this one will be devoted to setting up their living quarters. So far I’ve managed to mark out the area, which will be the first of four as they work their way around the field:


A bit more work to do here...


I’ll mow it later today and do a minimal shopping list for any bits and pieces I might need which I can’t find lying around the place. Today’s big priority, though, was to salvage the area recently vacated by big pig. Nothing around here stays weed free for long and her efforts were under threat:


Big pig's old area


The minute the potato backlog was cleared, my thoughts immediately turned to the next task: preparing for pumpkins, sweet corn and climbing beans. I won’t be planting them together in a true ‘three sister’ compilation but they definitely occupy a close proximity in my gardening brain. Big pig’s efforts provided an excellent foundation for a pumpkin patch.  

After a morning’s weeding and scraping around it looked like this (from the other end):


I wish I could train the dog to dig


Hardly perfect, but good enough for stage two of pumpkin patch construction, which comprises digging ‘pockets’ in the soil and filling them with the richest stuff I can find. A pumpkin seedling will be planted atop each station and allowed to sprawl away at will around the patch – suppressing the weeds a bit as they go. Behind the wheelbarrow you can see the parallel lines of mulch where the climbing beans will go – trenches to dig first! The potential sweetcorn patch is off camera on the left. 

As I stumped off for a coffee I noticed a very welcome spring arrival, almost buried in the grass: