Yesterday in honor of the coming rain I hoed several garden beds. It didn’t take long, about 5-15 minutes per bed. Not too bad considering I did eight beds, each 80 feet long with three rows of direct seeded seedlings in each bed. Why was I able to complete so much in so little time? Because I hoed at the right time. If I had waited until the weeds had grown into plants this could have been a very different and much longer experience.
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 growing. 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 and the angle of the blade to the handle. It 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 or biodegradable film was applied at planting —the soil is bare. Each 30” wide bed had been planted with three rows of seeds. Planting in straight rows makes it pretty easy to hoe and 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 deplete the weed seed population 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 cut-flower farmer, author, online course producer, and nationally recognized speaker on organic cut-flower farming and gardening.