Hoeing

Last week we began thinking about weeds. When we disturb the soil in the beds we see the white thread-like roots of pigweed and galen soga. They are just the tiniest little things right now. Easy to miss if you’re not looking for them.

If we don’t take care of them now, they won’t be so easy to miss in a few weeks. Nor will they be so easy to kill. Very shallow hoeing, and hoeing that ‘fluffs’ the soil on the surface, should do the trick. Shallow hoeing kills the newly germinated weeds and stirs up the weed seed in the top 1/2″ of soil. “Fluffing” the soil should make it harder for the next bunch of weed seeds to germinate. Theory is that with enough shallow hoeing the weed pressure will be greatly reduced, maybe the weeds will disappear altogether. (Did I mention the theory also says it could take a couple of decades to deplete the weed seed bank?)

I’ve been told that shallow hoeing also helps preserve soil moisture by interfering with the capillary action of the soil. Tower, Smith, Turton and Cope explain it a bit in their 1920 text, Physics: http://tiny.cc/fRwdx

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