On The Farm

Winter Weeding

The new year is underway, and I imagine that for most people the subject of weeding would be the last thing on their minds.

Here at Blackberry Farm, however, Winter weeding is very much on our minds.

When plots of soil are tilled in late Fall or early Winter, it doesn’t take long before patches of light green begin to appear. We like to tackle our weed problem head on. It’s much easier to eradicate weed seedlings when they first appear than it is to wait until they are of good size and competing with plants for space and nutrients. Good, sharp hoes and fork hoes make short work of what would become menacing weeds.

Chickweed is a Winter weed which can become quite a problem in our Winter gardens if left unchecked.

As it spreads, chickweed covers the ground surface like a mat and is nearly impossible to pull when growing close to Winter multiplier onions and garlic.

We have had some unseasonably warm days this January, perfect for weeding out rows of Winter greens, turnips, garlic and Fall onions.

One of my favorite sights is looking out on the rows that have been worked over with fork hoes, exposing the damp, dark soil that has been brought to the surface. The light green garlic and onion shoots stand out in sharp contrast against the dark soil.

Our time spent now keeping Winter weeds in check will make for much easier work as our Winter season progresses towards the early days of Spring.

- John Coykendall, Master Gardener

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