First, I dug a 15" trench down the center of the bed. The idea is to hold water in the middle instead of running down to the edges. Plenty of organic fertilizer like last year.
At $8.50, this stuff is half the price of the cheapest black plastic mulch at Home Depot.
After rolling out the paper, I staggered the pepper plants in the trench and watered.
Then covered everything with a thick layer of straw. If we get frost, I plan to sprinkle some more straw all over the plants to protect them. If they die, I always have a second set of seedlings, so I can take the gamble to plant a month early!
Extra straw went to the garlic plants, which are thriving this year! I went with a proven local variety that a mennonite farmer neighbor has been using for probably a century. They are big and healthy. I can't wait to see the bulbs!