On The Farm- August 9th
I can usually find something nice to say about bugs, for every pest there is a beneficial insect that is essential to the farm. I can see the bright side of having wet weather or dry weather. However I seldom have anything positive to say about weeds.
For a farmer that doesn’t spray herbicides, keeping competition down between weeds and your crops is one of the main aspects of the job. On a farm that doesn’t plant and cultivate mechanically, even more time is devoted to the task of weed management. This primarily human-powered farm deals with weeds like it deal most of its challenges, a multi pronged solution.
Stirrup Hoes skim the surface soil, back and forth, back and forth, undercutting weeds and exposing their roots to the sun. A thick layer of straw mats down between plants, only a few weeds find the light and emerge through the tangled mulch. Before some crops emerge, the torch of a flame weeder will move over the bed, causing cellular explosions in the plant tissue, leaving blackened, shriveled leaves. However, nothing really beats hand weeding- pulling each unwanted plant up- completely removing the roots. It’s the slowest way to weed but the most effective and more and more of my time is spent this way.