Cultivation at our school garden

20140614-142429-51869001.jpgUnlike yesterday’s workshop on cultivating weeds in the garlic patch, today’s effort was a walk in the park!  The weeds at Parr Field are so small that weeding them is easy to the point where a stir-up hoe is all that is needed to be dragged lightly through the soil…  The most difficult, and dangerous, part of hoeing weeds at this time of year is that a person can easily mistake some corn for grass or otherwise hoe weeds in an area where a plant has not yet emerged and it can be taken out before it gets a chance.  Another danger is, of course, stepping on the baby plants.  This is especially a concern in this type of garden where cropping area is maximized for production and there is not a whole lot of room to move around.  Another difficultly in hoeing weeds in this kind of agricultural system is that the drip lines need to be accounted for, either moved out of the way or carefully worked around.

20140614-142444-51884146.jpgI was pleasantly surprised that our team of about 8 participants was able to take care of the weeds in the entire field in less than two hours.  That is not too much of a time-investment given the importance of this activity.  An important thing to remember about the process of hoeing weeds is that you are not only limiting the competition of other plants with your crops, but hoeing weeds is also oxygenating the soil while allowing a process of bringing more soil to the crops in support around their base.  Mounding of soil around crops is important later in the season to prevent lodging, or corn plants falling over due to lack of support and/or high wind activity.  Given the prevalence of wind these days, we will be sure to support our crops in this way a few more times this agricultural season…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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