Sunday, September 12, 2010

June Update

June is usually a good month in the garden: everything is usually planted by now and the weather has settled into summer, so all there is to do is weed, water, and watch things grow. We did have a very cool early summer this year, so I wasn't able to direct seed or transplant out any hot weather veggies until early or mid this month.

The main garden is mostly planted by the end of June. Peppers are under the plastic tunnel, as it's still not warm yet.

We had a wet spring and a cool early summer, so I had to wait until the ground dried out enough to put in the new garden space for this year. This is the area I plowed last fall and had a cover crop in over the winter. I got my first transplants in the ground in late May, so all hot weather summer crops in this garden.

My new tool for weed rustling this year is a Valley Oak wheel hoe.

The last few years I was spending way too much time weeding by hand and with my scuffle hoe, and now with twice the garden space I am going to have a lot of weeding to do. I did a little research and found a wheel hoe to be the tool for weeding in the rows between my raised beds. Wheel hoes have been around for decades. Before tractors, check that, before horses were readily available and cost efficient for small farmers, all work was done by manpower. Planet Jr. made many models for hand use or for drawing behind horses. There are 4 or 5 different companies making wheel hoes today, and each have their strengths and weaknesses. Except for Glaser ($350-$399!!), Valley Oak has been around the longest and offers a modern version of the classic tool with all the same accessories available as other manufacturers. I go through the rows once a week - takes about 30 minutes to do all the rows in both gardens - before that would have taken an entire day. The point is to keep weeds from getting established, so it must be done regularly.

I am also using a new tool for weeding around the plants in my raised beds. Eliot Coleman is a big proponent of colinear hoes, so I thought I would try one out. I found one at the feed store being sold as an "onion hoe". Not sure what that means, but once I took the angle grinder to it and sharpened up the leading edge, it was ready to go. The blade on this hoe is at nearly a right-angle to the long handle, and is used standing straight up, with a grip and motion like raking leaves. Like with the wheel hoe, once a week all the beds are gone through. The blade is slid along just under the soil surface, slicing off small weeds before they are big enough to be able to regrow, and keeping the soil surface broken up and dry to help prevent further weed germination. No need to clean up the beds afterwards and no more hand weeding! Hooray!

1 comment:

Gevan said...

You need to update with photos of your results! Impressive.