The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cover crop team work

cutting Rye cover crop with Stihl trimmer

The Stihl FS-90R trimmer did a great job cutting the latest Rye cover crop experiment at the base,.

We made short work of it with Anna following behind me with a rake to bring back the few plants that fell in the aisle.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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What makes you choose the stihl over a scythe?
Comment by rhesa Wed May 8 18:17:15 2013
I picked up a Stihl KombiSystem with the hedge trimmer attachment. It goes through that high stuff easily and the stalks just fall over. That's the thing that I hate about a string trimmer, it throws stuff all over the place.
Comment by Fritz Thu May 9 07:31:08 2013

Rhesa --- After experimenting with the scythe last year, my feeling was that the rye was too dense and tough for easy scything. I know it's permaculture heresy, but Mark's weedeater works at least twice as fast as my scythe with about half the effort, ad he does a much better job. And the amount of gas he uses is miniscule --- I think he's gone through less than a gallon this year so far and he's cleaned up a lot of problem spots for me already (multiple hours of work). I'd definitely put a weedeater into the appropriate technology category.

Fritz --- I thought the weedeater was going to make a big mess, but was pleasantly surprised how well the rye stayed put. I suspect part of that is Mark's skill level --- he used the weedeater like a scythe, mowing down a swath at a time, and the most I had to do was nose a few fallen bundles back onto the bed.

Comment by anna Thu May 9 09:37:26 2013
Some modern tools are acceptable and should be used. You use a gasoline lawn mower and not a push reel mower? A chain saw and not a cross cut saw? You are doing really great and I enjoy the pictures of your gardens. Please keep them coming. I am working on my own gardens using Steve Solomon’s way of hand digging them. I enjoy digging as it relieves stress for me. I have not tried no till yet but will think about it for the future. I might start out no till with a buckwheat field/ hairy vetch or rye grass to cut and feed to my compost piles. For now my garden is small and waiting on a fence as the deer and rabbits enjoy it also.
Comment by Mark Fri May 10 12:22:16 2013

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