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No-till preparation in heavily weedy beds

Under the quick hoop

Lettuce isn't quite hardy enough to survive even a mild zone-6 winter despite quick-hoop protection. But the row-cover fabric produces a protected microclimate that pre-heats the soil for spring...while also growing quite a sturdy crop of dead nettle, chickweed, and speedwell.

Early spring weed killing

I've hand-weeded beds like this in the past...and it's a bad idea. One of my goals for this year is to think of smarter ways to handle body-breaking tasks, so I'm experimenting with two early spring weed killers.

Option A: (in the foreground) solarization, which I really don't expect to work at such a cold time of year. Option B: a short-term cardboard kill mulch, which I expect to weaken the plants within a couple of weeks and make them easy to handweed.

Perhaps Mark should pull out the flame weeder and see if we can come up with an experimental option C?

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For what its worth department: I find that black plastic used to 'solarize' my soil is much more effective than clear. Why? No clue. But I do know it is much more effective at killing the weeds/seeds. I, too, am trying to learn how to work smarter rather than harder with a hoe. Although, hoeing the weeds is certainly a good blood pressure reducer if I can keep thinking every weed is one more of my troubles and I just whack 'em down!
Comment by Tim Inman Thu Feb 23 17:35:28 2017
Use a fair bit of the dead nettle, chickweed, and speedwell for extra salad greens? They are all edible...
Comment by Elizabeth Fri Feb 24 00:23:12 2017

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime