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

Weeding the garden

Spring garlicAs I wrote last year, April is weeding month on our farm.  My graph below shows how many beds need to be planted between February and October --- April is clearly the calm before the storm, a chance to clean up early-planted beds (or overwinterers, like this garlic) and get a head start on the May rush.

Garden beds planted

Even though I started weeding in earnest around the end of March, I already feel a bit behind.  The crazy spring heat made everything grow much faster than normal, so the early spring beds all need to be weeded and mulched ASAP.

Thinning poppiesI don't thin much, but there is a little of that on the April agenda too.  I managed to overseed the breadseed poppies (despite cutting back my seeding rates from last year) and Swiss chard always needs to be played with since more than one plant germinates from each "seed".

On the plus side, my strawberries and garlic are in much better shape than they were last spring --- a heavy fall mulch did its job.  After a fiddly hour of weeding around tiny seedlings, I like to give myself a break by ripping out the few chickweed and dead nettle plants that came up in a garlic bed.  So satisfying to weed a whole bed in under a minute!  Maybe that's what all of my weeding jobs will be like in a decade when my soil is rich, my mulch deep, and the weed seeds few.

Our chicken waterer makes care of the backyard flock so easy, we have time to grow every vegetable we eat.

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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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I read your posts everyday and really enjoy your pictures. Last year I planted strawberry crowns in their own 4 by 8 foot bed and planted a blueberry bush against the fence line. Would you recommend putting fabric, plastic netting over each or a metal material over either to keep the birds out?? I haven't seen much about covering them from what i've read and watch on the internet/youtube.
Also I planted an asparagus bed last year, I have maybe a dozen plants that are 3 feet tall now. Do you think I should mulch them after weeding. And do you let them continue to grow all year not cutting them back? Thank you for any response you give. Reading about you two and looking at your pictures feels like I'm there enjoying the garden too. This will be my first year of completely taking care of my garden and I plant to enjoy it while learning from you do and many hours of youtube videos of gardening as well. Thanks again.

Comment by john Sun Apr 8 11:27:54 2012

John --- I'd probably wait and see if you have bird problems before going to the hassle of putting up plastic netting. We've never needed it --- our birds have plenty of wild food to eat where they don't have to brave people and cats and dogs. And netting is a pretty good people deterrent, meaning that it makes you less likely to stroll past your berry patch and give them a tweak regularly.

I would definitely weed and mulch your asparagus. The vegetables hate competing with weeds, and it's tough to get perennial weeds out without harming the asparagus once the former are established. Definitely don't cut your asparagus back (until the fronds die back for the winter) during the establishment years.

Thanks for your kind words, and good luck with your garden!

Comment by anna Sun Apr 8 16:53:26 2012

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