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Reporting
Pine bark mulch: _ _ _ IPine bark mulch: _ _ _ I dug up a large area with a backhoe, and mixed in a few bucketloads of creek sand, a little lime and fertilizer. I then covered this with 8 to 12 inches of composted pine bark mulch (from a logging operation... There was originally a lot of leaves and wood chips in it..) The melon seeds were started indoors. I planted the seedlings in the mulch by making a little hole all the way down to the dirt beneath, and adding in a little potting soil... The seedlings were placed in there. These vines are going nuts! There are zillions of flowers starting to set fruit,. The pine bark may be a good alternative to the 'plastic'. In my past experiences, pine bark supports very little mold or fungus etc. I have not watered this patch at all.

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