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Getting ahead of the weeds

Scott H.

It's now the time of the year when you can feel the weeds growing behind your back!  It rained about 0.4 inches a few days ago, so the spring grain in the sandy soil plot are reaching that perfect condition where disturbing the weed seedlings result in their quickly wilting to become tonight's snack for the earthworms.

In the past, I've hand weeded the grains with a hoedag or diamond hoe which worked nicely but takes considerable time.  At the Guelph Organic Conference & Expo this winter I saw a variety of big scale equipment used by organic grain farmers.  Happily I came across Terrateck specializing in equipment for that small niche--too big to be a garden and too small to be a commercial grain farm. With the planned increases to support my grain grow-outs, I surprised the two salesmen from the Ontario distributor and bought their demo model to save on shipping and assembly.  

Terrateck two wheel hoe

One of the elements I learned at the conference from the big scale organic farming sessions is to plant precisely so you can weed precisely.  So all spring, I've been using my marking rake to lay out rows exactly 8 inches apart.

Action packed movie!

The trick seems to be not to look at where you're stepping, but to focus on where you're going!

Here is what it looks like in the working position... slicing weeds from their roots!

Terrateck wheel hoe

With the unit lifted up, you can see the length of the cutting sweeps that slice the weeds just below the soil surface.

Terrateck hoe with shortened sweeps

To work with my 8 inch row spacing, I shortened the slicer blades.  At this distance, running down every other row seems practical.  If I cut them shorter, I'd need to push down each row.

 After cultivating, the weeds need time to wilt before spot weeding by hand with the hoedag 'between' the seedlings.

I do not have this attachment:

But I'll admit, it tempts me...

Scott


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