So I am at the point in my organic class where we discuss organic weed control. This subject is important to me as we spend the majority of our days weeding the crop field.
I already knew about using vinegar to control crops, and that it does not kill the roots. With vinegar you must apply it several times, best results are done early morning before high sun so that the sun helps ‘burn’ the plant. The vinegar does not kill the roots or most grasses so repeated applications are required. We used spray bottles but if we have to use this again next year we will invest in a sprayer system to save our hands and speed up the process. Besides the yard smelling like salad dressing and our hands hurting we had little to object about this weed killer. It is best used on seedlings instead of full-grown plants. This would most likely work best for us in early spring right after planting and after rains storms that always spawn weeds.
Another organic weed control mention was flaming them. Now this process will not be used by us as I can not wrap my head around the safety issues. Basically you use propane and a nozzle and burn the weeds to the ground. I have weird images of Ghost Buster type contraptions. It is hard to believe this process is actually used. I have some in my class that do use this process but do not apply it to a garden or crop field but instead to yards. Since we are not concerned about weeds out side of our gardens or crops this is another reason this will not be used. Even if it does sound like a ton of fun for us grownups!
Another option for weed control is applying corn meal. Now this is control inhibits the weeds from starting, but it is time-consuming. It can take years for the application to actually work and several applications. I feel this might be something to look into as we move to a more organized homestead, but not something fitting for next year.
garlic oil and clove oil are also mentioned as a possible weed control method. Again this does not kill the roots and therefore would take multiple applications, but is something I am considering in combination to the vinegar. One draw back is these oils are not considered safe for humans or animals at the concentrations used to kill plants. This could be a huge issue if we decide free ranging our animals on all acreage is what we want to do. For now though our animals are confined to a yard.
Another option for organic is mulch. Now I like this option and we are going to attempt using it next spring. We are going to use the plants we clear over the winter for mulch, we just need to figure out the wood chipper rental and such. We also know that mulch will have added benefits by decomposing and becoming a fertilizer as time goes on for the field. We know from my broccoli lab( nothing grew) that our soil on its own is not very good for growing crops. We need to add organic material to improve it. We are hoping to move the crop field for next year to a different location but that has yet to be fully discussed.
Pulling weeds by hands was also mentioned and this is what we use this year. It is very time-consuming even with 3 prong rakes and 4 prong rakes to break up the soil. The soil here forms a top layer that is incredible hard and underneath that is full of rocks. This makes hand pulling weeds and briars very difficult. We currently wet the soil prior to pulling weeds, we use the water from our rain barrels and well. This helps but the whole process of weeding the corp field is never-ending as by the time we get to the last row we already need to start the first one over. This time we chose to not weed the squash as it is no longer producing much. We also did not weed often in the corn as the weeds were slow to grow there, probably due to the corn shadowing them from the sun. The middle three rows did not make any of our plants so we do not weed them either. This basically leaves us 6-7 rows to weed and that alone is barely manageable by hand.
Another option I have read about from class mates is the use of rabbits or geese to weed. We use our goat in the yard but not tin the crop field as she loves bean plants. I doubt we would use bunnies as they would eat our crops. but I am looking into Weeder Geese. We have a pond on the property and already have the coop so adding geese next year should be easy. I will update on this possibility as we find out more.
Well y’all I am off here to go work on more homework. Love y’all, blessings be with yas and I will post pics tomorrow!