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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sweatin' With the Weeds

AAAAAND.... It's SUMMER!  In the blink of an eye, from a day that felt more like April to days that feel more like August within the same week.

the actual rows still need a first weeding but between is
getting under control thanks to Tractor Guy!
Pea trellises in place
So we are sweatin' with the weeds, trying to do as much in the garden in the early and late periods of less violent sunlight. Tractor Guy has set up the cultivator with all 6 blades on one side to work between the narrower rows (the tractor straddles a row of low growing crops and cultivates between that row and the one to the right).  IN the rows, with the seedlings finally big enough to see, weeding still needs doing. I attacked the spinach row today, hoping to actually coax them into not bolting, but with the temperatures, I am not holding my breath. I AM considering starting them in the house for a fall crop, if I can figure out the timing, and trying that in the spring next year.

You can see, in the picture above, a bit of the pea trellis that I finally got installed. Here is a better shot. There has been some very light predation, but one variety is beginning to bloom!  My trellis is make from several year old snow fence, cut in half lengthwise and some very fine black mesh bird netting that is on its last legs.

Double deer fence, along the front.
The first planting of lettuce is ready for market and eating; well started along just as we finished off the last of the accidentally over wintered stuff. And the second planting is in the gound. Now, I just need to make more tiny blocks and start the third round!

Double deer fence at the gate; outside is three strand electric, top
and bottom hot, middle ground.

The electric deer fence has been up for a few days, and appears to be working. We did have TWO places where the bottom line had been pushed up, so that the bottom and middle insulators were pushed right together, but I think the deer ended up shocking themselves as the middle is the ground. We fixed both of those places and have not seen any more issues. the inside fence that you can see better in the left picture is just a single strand of twine -- a visual barrier.

I have talked, I think, about the feed sack mulch strips that I made by taking paper feed sacks, opening them up along the sides and stapling them together to make a strip. Here are some broccoli plants that are happily using the home made weed block. In the end, it gets tilled in. Until then, it really does a great job of keeping the weeds away. I use this for any row crop that is an annual that will stand for most of the season (brassica, onions and kin, etc) and use cardboard for vine crops (pumpkins, cucumbers, etc) and perennials. Unfortunately for me, I have to weed the shorter season crops and those that get planted as seeds: lettuce, peas, beans, carrots...

On the hex sign front, I handed of a big custom sign recently to a local family that will mount it on their newly built camp! The robins represent the family's daughters, sitting on an olive branch for family harmony with love over all grounded in faith. The scalloped boarder represents smooth sailing through life.