Posts Tagged ‘weeding’

New CobraHead How-To Videos

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Our daughter Anneliese has a good friend, Jason Weiss, who is a professional cinematographer. Jason and I spent a few days in the garden last summer shooting CobraHead tools in action.  Jason then edited the videos and produced eight different titles and a loop for us to use at trade shows.

We’re quite happy with the finished product.  We’ve got them loaded up on YouTube and our website.  If you’d like to spend a few minutes looking at them, it may make you forget the nasty cold we are enjoying all over the north, right now.

Common Weeds in Strawberries

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
Strawberry Beds

Strawberry Beds

The strawberry harvest is over for this year.  There are still a few small berries in the beds, but the days of having to go out morning and night to keep up, and being able to pick quarts at a time are finished.  This year’s harvest was good.  I’ve done a reasonable job this year of keeping the beds weeded, always a difficult task.  I took some pictures of the six weeds that showed up the most this spring.  Ranked relative to occurrence and obnoxiousness, they are:

Wood sorrel - Oxalis stricta

Wood sorrel – Oxalis stricta

Oxalis or wood sorrel – Oxalis stricta – is the worst offender.  Fortunately, it can be easily weeded before it gets too large.  When small, it  is very weak rooted and the plant lifts right out with little effort.  This is one of those “good weed/bad weed” plants, bad only because it is in the wrong place.  It’s completely edible, and a useful herb in the right situation, but in my garden it’s only a royal pain.

Quickweed - galinsoga

Quickweed – galinsoga

Next on the list of bad guys in the berries is quickweed or galinsoga – Galinsoga ciliata.  Again, it’s an edible weed, but I say no thanks to eating it.  If left uncontrolled it can ruin a garden in short order.  When young, it is very shallow rooted and easy to pull by hand.

Foxtail - Alopecurus

Foxtail – Alopecurus

Foxtail – Alopecurus – There are lots of grasses that fall under the name foxtail, and I have no idea which of the many species are in my beds.  The good thing about foxtail grasses are that they are easy to weed, the whole root usually lifts right out.

Black medic - Medicago lupulina

Black medic – Medicago lupulina

Black medic – Medicago lupulinaThis clover plant sets a deep tap root very quickly.  If it isn’t weeded when small, it is difficult to get the root out. 

Crabgrass - Digitaria

Crabgrass – Digitaria

Crabgrass – Digitaria- The other grass that shows up a lot is crabgrass.  Again there are  many species, and I’m not too interested in trying to figure out which ones are in the garden.  If let go very long they set roots too tough to remove by hand pulling, but my CobraHead can rip out even the largest of them.

Ground Ivy - Glechoma hederacea

Ground Ivy – Glechoma hederacea

Ground Ivy – Glechoma hederacea – locally, this is called creeping Charlie.  It makes up a good portion of my lawn, so it’s not all bad.  In the strawberries it is very difficult to weed.  It lays down additional root clusters along its stems as it snakes across the ground.  It’s close to impossible to get it all out if it gets a head start.

I’ll go back over my two new beds again soon to try to give them another good grooming.  And they’ll still need more weeding before winter sets in, otherwise production will suffer next year.  I’m not too worried about keeping ahead on the old bed, as I’ll be ripping that out totally next spring to start a new bed in my three bed strawberry rotation.



Using the CobraHead Long Handle as a Scuffle Hoe

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Noel and I decided to seize upon the nice weather we had today and shoot a few short videos in the garden. Here, he’s demonstrating how the CobraHead Long Handle® can be used as a scuffling hoe. Please enjoy!

We plan to post more videos as the summer progresses. Please let us know if there’s something you like to see from us!

Another Battle in the Everlasting War on Weeds

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Four Year Old Strawberry Bed

My garden is an experiment to prove to myself that it’s possible to maintain a large organic vegetable growing area using all hand labor and with a minimum of outside inputs.  Weed control is the toughest part, and not having or taking enough time to do a good job of preventative weeding often leaves me with some labor intensive weeding chores.

This partly weeded bed was planted with strawberries in 2007.  I normally clean out the berry beds and move any young berry plants into a new bed after three years, but that didn’t happen.  As old strawberry beds are the hardest of all to weed, and get my least attention, this four year old bed was mainly a mix of dandelion, quack grass, creeping charlie, and chickweed.  I did unearth a few dozen young berry plants that were saved to be to be transplanted into a new bed.

To make weeding the bed as complete and as painless as possible, I first used the broadfork to break the soil.  It’s much faster and easier than trying to use a garden fork.  It penetrates deeper and moves a lot of soil with each bite.  After loosening the roots with the broadfork, it was down to my hands and knees to pull out the loosened weeds with my CobraHead Weeder.  I occasionally had to use the border fork to extract dandelion taproots that hadn’t been freed by the broadfork.

Ready for Planting

I used the kama to clean the grass edge border.  I re-shaped the flattened bed using a steel rake, my trusty old five-tined cultivating hoe, and a scoop shovel.  This ready to plant bed represents about six hours work and is definitely the physically hardest thing I will have to do in the garden, this year.