Saturday, June 20, 2009


I've sorta let the garden go for the past couple of weeks. Shame on me. Oh, I've done a little, just the minimum, quick and easy stuff, and mowed the perimeter a couple times. Were eating some lettuce and mustard greens, but overall care, aside from watering, has been lacking. Today I hit it.

As I was walking the ducks out to their paddock the other day, I noticed that the potatoes were getting of a size that if I did not act soon, I wouldn't be able to get in with the tractor and rehill them. Well, I could rehill them by hand, but I'd rather not. The problem was compounded by the fact that I had not weeded the existing hills. Were I to rehill them before weeding, I would just be burying weeds, and I knew that I would not be able to do any serious weeding until this weekend. What to do? I made a plan.

For those of you just joining us, this is the implement I used to initially cover the seed potatoes, and it is also what I use to rehill. You will note that after the blades pass through the dirt to create the mound, some of the dirt falls back behind the blades, making a hill that is wider than the narrowest distance between the two blades. By setting the blades at the same distance for the first pass in the rehilling, I was able to effectively weed the sides of the hills and rehill at the same time. A second pass, this time with the blades three inches further apart brought up new dirt onto the mound and also gave the weeds a second turn. The trick was not to water the mounds afterwards so as to not provide the uprooted weeds any moisture. Believe me, they need no encouragement.

Speaking of moisture, the forecast was for rain tomorrow, so I knew I needed to get out and do some serious defoliating today, by hand. I started with the potatoes as there were large thickets of smartweed and amaranthe on top of the mounds and as tall as the potatoes. I worked on my hands and knees for all four 75' rows, which may sound like a painful process, yet it wasn't too bad. In some areas the weeds were so thick that they provided some cushion for my knees as I pulled them and laid them in the row in front of me. And, as somebody's mother once said, working on one's hands and knees just means more time for praying.

I work fast, and I had those rows done in less than two hours. After a short break, I cleaned up the tomoto row. Again, a lot of amaranthe, yet over in this part of the paddock there are a lot of thistles as well. I recommend a sturdy pair of gloves, and advise that the weeds do not make a comfortable pad for one's knees. After the maters, I did a lot of work with the circle hoe around the peppers and basils, and cleared up some of the paths between the rows. I'm sure I didn't get all of the roots, yet that's what the tiller is for. I'll go back down the paths after the ground dries out again with the tiller set shallow, and that will be that.

The worst of it is done, without incident, and for that I am glad. It is supposed to rain for a couple days, and when the ground dries out a bit again, I'll get the smaller weeds, which, by that time, may not be small.

We could use some heat. The tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are more or less just sitting there. Very little growth. Ironically, the tomatoes in cans for our client have gone long in the tooth, growing fruit and showing signs of becoming root bound. We may be eating from them before we have anything to harvest in the field.

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