Beating Back the Weeds
Last night, like many a night before, we continued with our battle against really big weeds. This time of year, in good soil, weeds like redroot pigweed and lamb’s quarters turn into small trees with roots 6
|Our Tine Weeder|
inches in the ground. When I should be looking over our onion field with row after row of beautifully-spaced and maturing white bulbs, I instead see a forest of green going to seed. We got to this place this year from a wet spring which continued into early summer. Oftentimes people think the major issue with lots of rain is that it sets back planting, but, on an organic farm like ours, the biggest challenge with a long, wet season is the inability to control weeds. We use mechanical cultivation to take out weeds when they are just emerging. Our cultivation equipment consists of an old Farmall H with shovels attached and a tine weeder which drags over the bed. When not even able to walk on the totally saturated soils in June, we sure were not able to drive a tractor out there, and, once a full flush of weeds germinated at got to a good size, tractor cultivation doesn’t do a great job of killing them. So, it’s come down to us, a lot of time, and our hands. After a few weeks, I feel we are starting to win this war of attrition as we reclaim territory row by row. It certainly is a great sight when I get to the end of a bed and can look back over the uncovered plants – ah, relief! Recently rescued crops include the second planting of beans and a pretty bed of carrots.