Weeding Techniques

flowerbug

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my two favorites are using the stirrup hoe (or action hoe or what i otherwise call a scraper) and when doing closer work between plants i use either a small trowel or a large knife.

the main reasons for liking both of these tools and techniques is that they do not have to stir much of the garden soil around to be effective and so that means you're not moving a lot of weed seeds around in the soil layers. by not moving the seed around much you will not be moving them into the germination zone.

the scraper can be used to just skim along the surface to cut the weeds off or just to skim below the surface (which may not mix the soil much if you use only one pass). with the knife i just stick it into the soil along the side of the weed and slice the root off a few inches down. for most weeds this is enough to make it easy to remove the weed without moving much of the garden soil. note this also depends a lot upon what kind of garden soil you have and the surrounding area conditions, mulches, etc.

if i have room and the ground is not recently wet enough i like to also use the ground pillow to sit on while using the knife or trowel.

today's task was to get going back on the North Garden where the onions are planted to get that garden back to better condition instead of looking a bit overrun. i should have taken before and after pics, but didn't. i did get all the onions weeded around and they should do much better for it. there were a few spots where squash plants were going to take over if i let them keep getting bigger and i sure didn't want that to happen. those onions are something we really enjoy when they are harvested. we eat a lot of onions normally. we have the large Candy and some yellow onions.

2 hrs to clear the weeds from the edge above and to the side of the onions and then kept working down further until i got tired enough.

i wish i had three hands so i could hold a camera and record what i'm doing while doing it...

and then the usual caveats also apply, like know what kind of weed you're dealing with so you can pick the right approach in removing it... work from the uphill to the bottom so if you don't finish at least you're improving the area you have managed to get to... clean off your shoes and garden tools to keep from spreading weed seeds around.
 
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Finnie

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my two favorites are using the stirrup hoe (or action hoe or what i otherwise call a scraper) and when doing closer work between plants i use either a small trowel or a large knife.

the main reasons for liking both of these tools and techniques is that they do not have to stir much of the garden soil around to be effective and so that means you're not moving a lot of weed seeds around in the soil layers. by not moving the seed around much you will not be moving them into the germination zone.

the scraper can be used to just skim along the surface to cut the weeds off or just to skim below the surface (which may not mix the soil much if you use only one pass). with the knife i just stick it into the soil along the side of the weed and slice the root off a few inches down. for most weeds this is enough to make it easy to remove the weed without moving much of the garden soil. note this also depends a lot upon what kind of garden soil you have and the surrounding area conditions, mulches, etc.

if i have room and the ground is not recently wet enough i like to also use the ground pillow to sit on while using the knife or trowel.

today's task was to get going back on the North Garden where the onions are planted to get that garden back to better condition instead of looking a bit overrun. i should have taken before and after pics, but didn't. i did get all the onions weeded around and they should do much better for it. there were a few spots where squash plants were going to take over if i let them keep getting bigger and i sure didn't want that to happen. those onions are something we really enjoy when they are harvested. we eat a lot of onions normally. we have the large Candy and some yellow onions.

2 hrs to clear the weeds from the edge above and to the side of the onions and then kept working down further until i got tired enough.

i wish i had three hands so i could hold a camera and record what i'm doing while doing it...

and then the usual caveats also apply, like know what kind of weed you're dealing with so you can pick the right approach in removing it... work from the uphill to the bottom so if you don't finish at least you're improving the area you have managed to get to... clean off your shoes and garden tools to keep from spreading weed seeds around.
These are my two favorite methods too.
 

flowerbug

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in the garden cleanup for this past season what i've been using more than anything is my flat bladed shovel to just skim the surface, and using that same shovel i've been digging the usual trenches to bury what i skim. the reason to skim the surface is to remove any seeds that have been blown onto a garden or any that have fallen from weeds that have managed to avoid me getting them taken care of before reaching maturity and developing viable seeds. if you bury those down below the germination zone they will not sprout until they are disturbed and i often don't bury or disturb the same area of a garden for 3-10 years (depending upon what else i'm doing and how the crop rotation goes).

we had a lot of wind-blown grasses coming up in the gardens this past season and i hoped that all my skimming would cut down on that for next year because i sure did spend a lot more time this year weeding those grasses out. having to spend a lot more time this fall to get a garden prepped for winter has slowed me down and now i'm looking at snow on the ground which i hope will melt and let me get more gardens done before winter really sets in. brr! cold out there today...
 

digitS'

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My doctor's appointment yesterday was to renew my "permanent" disability parking pass. I had him renew a prescription while I was there so I didn't feel that pulling me in for that was just a way to make some money. Cutting him a little slack, he wasn't the MD who had vouched for the "permanent" pass ... all of 5 years ago.

The idea of pushing a flat bladed shovel down garden paths didn't make me cringe when I first put in a garden of some size, years ago. And, that shovel didn't cause the injuries that led to the lameness that has now "disabled" me. But, I had already had some back problems and quickly decided that it was just too much of a strain on the back.

I'm a believer in using dead weight for much of the weed work. Have I already said on this thread that a long-handled spading fork is a preference? Just step on the thing, then lean down while you push it towards the ground with one hand. Ignore the weeds that  pop to the soil surface and continue. Completing one area, return with another long-handled tool – a 4-prong cultivator. It's my preferred "cane" helping me get around in the garden while dragging the partially paralyzed left leg. Chop chop chop, the weeds bounce and shed soil from the roots. You can leave them to dry or rake them out of the beds and paths.

I realize that gardeners have varying techniques for using tools and that weeds and soil (especially) varies. It is just that this works well with the gravelly soil that I have dealt with for 50 years. I also realize that now only showing up twice a week and needing to run irrigation water during the visits in the big veggie garden is making a mockery of any claims I make about being an accomplished weeder ;).

Steve, oh my aching back
 

ducks4you

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I think that you should ENJOY your personal method of weeding, or you will hate doing it!
DD got me this wonderful kneeling/sitting gardener's bench. I spent a LOT of time on it in the last 2 years. It is short enough and shallow enough that I can sit and do the weeding that others stand and do.
I enjoyed sitting and hand weeding weed grasses and using my hand rake to remove many others. I cleared out the area where I started my wildflower garden this way, and I really enjoyed doing it.
I kept my shovel close, for those stubborn weeds that needed to be pulled out from the roots, so I did Some standing and weeding, just not as much as 10 years ago.
I try to wear an analog watch when I garden bc sometimes I lose track of time when I am having a good time.
Something else to always remember:
It is easier to remove ANY plant after a rain. Still, I Still haven't mastered carrots, the ONLY way I got them out of the bed this year was after 2 days of rain.
 

Branching Out

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Not sure where I found this tip for pulling carrots so I can't credit the original source-- but after breaking off many carrots I discovered that this technique actually works on all but really, really long carrots. First you push down firmly on the shoulders of the carrot, plunging it about 1/2" into the ground; this action severs the fine feeder roots that anchor the carrot in the soil. Next you grab the green top growth nice and low down, and gently pull the carrot straight up. It is remarkable how easy it is in most cases. One extra step, but I find that it sure makes a difference. 🥕
 

flowerbug

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i was able to get out today and almost finished one of the last two gardens, so tomorrow i hope to get that one done and then also finish the remaining other garden. scrape stuff aside, dig trench, skim surface and put it in the trench with the worst of the weeds going into the bottom. bury it all leaving extra dirt on top to help it settle back down. in the spring it will get redistributed again a bit once i see how much it all settles.

the ground was wet enough that pulling things by hand wasn't going to work very well (clay is slippery), i spent more time scraping the dirt off the shovel and my shoes than getting anything done, but i at least was not slipping on ice and clay.

i was glad to see a lot of my wormie friends and now they will have plenty to munch on through the winter. :)

tomorrow will be a repeat, but i will try to get out there an hour earlier as i will have a little more to do.
 

flowerbug

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Mom was talking to one of my aunties the other day and she suggested getting a rototiller but Mom explained that we've already broke two of the smaller ones. i sure do not want one anyways. i don't need it.

after today's efforts Mom mentioned that to me but i said that if i wasn't happy with how something is going i'd find another way to get it done. so far nothing i can do that would keep Mom happy can get done as easily as i'm doing it. no chemicals, no noise, dig a hole, bury stuff, let it be until spring, plant, weed, repeat... add worm compost once in a while. add whatever else i can scrounge for organic materials if i can. add green manure clippings if i can grow them, etc. need to probably get the soil tested sometime but really i've not done it yet so ... maybe a pH test. but i keep telling myself to do it but as of yet i've not done that either...
 

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