Yesterday in honor of the coming rain I hoed, took about 3-1/2 hours to complete. Not too bad considering I did eight 110 foot long beds with three rows of hardy annual seedlings in each bed. Why was I able to complete so much in so little time? Because I hoed at the right time. (Bells of Ireland bed to the left after I hoed.)
The seeds were planted 3-4 weeks ago. Using the Garden Hoe and pulling it through the top 1 inch of soil throughout the bed—except in the little furrow the seedlings are in. The blade sliced through all the weed seedlings germinating and that had developed in the past few weeks and thus killed them. If I had waited until after the rain with these warm temperatures the weeds would have skyrocket making the hoeing job much more difficult. Another important element is the Garden Hoe I use, the angle of the blade to the handle allows me to stand up straight while hoeing, no hunching over—dreamy.
These particular beds were planted with seeds not transplants. This means no mulch could be applied at planting —so the soil is bare. We planted each bed with three rows of seeds of the same variety. Planting in straight rows makes it pretty easy to identify your seedlings. These beds will be hoed weekly or so until the seedlings are big enough to be mulched, once mulched they will be carefree. Because we eliminated all of the weed seedlings in the top couple of inches of soil and then topping it off mulch will block light and prevent any further germinating.
All your spring weeds are sprouting now and throughout winter. Once your plants are ready to be mulched, weed and mulch well for a carefree spring!
It is all about timing—get them while they are small!
Click here to see the hoe in action.
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com .
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