Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Tango with a long tall hoe...

It scarce seems credible, but apparently there are a few folk who peruse this blog in the hope of garnering some gardening advice!
Well; if that be the case; and first taking the precaution of referring your good selves to the context and contacts page by way of disclaimer. Here be some timely advice on the subject of weed control.
The primary tool employed; even on a relatively large scale such as here; is the good old fashioned hoe.
Although the model I favour is a more modern iteration of an old design;
Which cultivates on both the push; and the pull.
Whatever the vintage of implement chosen, the principal is the same.
Tiny; recently germinated seedling weeds should be sliced just below soil level whilst they are still small enough to then be frazzled by the sun or wind in a few hours.....Dry weather favours the wielder of the hoe.
The most timely advice would be to start before you can even see the blighters.
It may be discernable in the picture that the rainbow chard transplants are growing here on the 'offset'

I.e. Like the fives on a dice.

This is an optimal spacing; given that plants develop with a roughly rounded outline when viewed from above. So this configuration makes best use of the available planting space.
And once crops are fully grown they will do a reasonable job of shading out competing weeds.
Keep the hoe moving through the tilth as often as possible; whilst the plants mature to full size.
Accurate plant spacing makes hoeing an enjoyable slantwise job, especially so when the company is congenial.
If Girl Wednesday is busy elsewhere; there's always the dulcet tweets of other birds to enjoy.
And have the handle of whichever tool you might employ; at the correct length.
Many tool handles are designed for those of more traditional stocky yeoman proportions; and will give taller sorts a hard days labour.
You should be able to stand up straight; driving hand right on the end of the shaft to give maximum motive force. Its partner goes further down for accurate guidance.
There is no need to be toiling; bent over; 'nose to the grindstone....It's inefficient and gives for a grumblesome back...
A few years back my optician told me that this sort of work is good for the eyesight, as the need to focus on the far then near is more akin to natural working conditions for the eye, compared with looking at a screen..
Having said that; they just don't seem to be printing labels as clearly as they used to....
Elliot Coleman ; a gardening guru hailing from Maine; opined that once we've got the hang of this cultivating technique; it should feel as if we are dancing with our hoe...
And could indeed; quite happily; keep it up all day.
Quite so.

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