THE WEEDING PROBLEM
How do you face it?
|WEEDS....... WEEDS....... bloody WEEDS
Before you start planting any crops, there must be a lot of thought go into the weeding of the crop. Take the picture to the left, where the transplants are in and the tee-tape down, connected to the irrigation.There is only one row planted in a bed as I have too much of a problem with nut grass in this herb patch. I have equipment that will weed the wheel tracks quite easily. I also can weed close to the crop row with my home made hydraulic weeder
|In the next photograph I have set up the 3-rows-in-a-bed-method over three acres of my modest 6 acre farm holding. The crop is irrigated and fertilized by tee-tape between the rows of the bed. Tee-tape is tied at both ends to stop wind taking it. A weed buffer zone is kept around the whole crop, by rotary hoe on the tractor once a month.|
|Over the years I have invented several
ways to keep the weeds out of the crops I produce.
Another weeding problem. The weeds running up the wheel tracks of the beds. These must be regularly cleaned.
If you have the opportunity to use the rolling cultivators as the picture displays, the driver needs to be very experienced in row crop tractor work. Care must be taken not to hit the edges of the crop. The rolling cultivators are driven at least 5 km/h fairly fast through the crop.
But the results are satisfying and well worth the purchase of the equipment.
| I have inter row cultivators that I use. I built
one pictured here. The hydraulic weeder. It is out of it's cradle. The transplants are
guided up the blue plant guards in front. The yellow fiberglass bristles are rotated to
scratch out the grass and the hard to get deep rooted woody weeds, like paddys Lucerne or
vervain (bluetop). This machine sits on the three point linkage of the tractor and is
driven by hydraulics operating on the pto shaft.
From young echinacea seedlings like this on the left, to larger established seedlings, this mechanical weeder cleaned these four beds up in 20 minutes, with a tractor driver and steerer on the machine, guiding the cradel through the plants.
|The results are ok as seen here on the left after the
machine has cut a path through the seedlings.
Of course the seedlings are precisionly planted by the same machine, just changing cradels to a water wheel mechanism.
|After many hours of careful planning and design, I
built this machine to reduce 80% of the weeding that takes up so much time, and is hard on
the back if you cannot pay any one to help.
I am happy to say it works very well, and practiced on a warm to hot day it will kill any grass seedlings that are scratched up in the process. To make the weeding a success, the operation must be done when the weed seedlings just appear. Any deep rooted woody weeds and nutgrass of any size have always survived the scratching as you can see near the machines two wheels. Any weeds that are inbetween the plants going up the rows are not touched. This is a job for the hand held tools as described before. It reduces the work
|One way, if there is no machinery available, are the
hand tools you need for the hard to get weeds close to the crop plants.
I use several hook-cutter type instruments. They will be on display in the next months issue of the growers page.
|I tried plastic mulch but could hardly control the weeds up the wheel tracks. Too much trouble tearing the plastic. After the crop is finished, I was faced withthe enormous problem of disposing of the mess. After careful consideration whether to mulch or to grow crops with no mulch, I set myself up to farm with no mulch around plants. I found collection of mulch hard work to lay and to harvest without the help of a front end loader. Many will disagree with me. But I am situated on a river and can irrigate any time. I have loads of water to keep the crops cool, either with overhead sprinklers or tee-tape laid up the rows. It depends what suits you the best.|