Favorable moisture and weather conditions have made this a beautiful spring and now that we're officially into summer let's hope this continues. We've only been blessed with a few hot and humid days and let's keep it that way. The crops are flourishing and we need a good year, especially after last season!
The first crop of lettuce is about to go by and we'll be turning it under before long. The first planting of greens have gone by and, by the time you read this, will have been tilled in. Cucumbers are ripening and summer squash won't be far behind. Peas should be ready this week and some spinach will still be left.
We're busy trellising tomatoes right now; lots of them. I figure there's around 13,000 plants that will need trellising within the next few days. This will be a full time job for the next two months for a couple of people. Once the strings are up then pruning will take much time for the next six weeks or so.
The greenhouses are nearly cleaned out and it's a good sight. We have some flats in two of the houses and some plants in one, but for the most part, the bulk of the plantings have gone out. Now that planting is about finished, all we have to do is take care of our crops. The insects, weeds and diseases keep us busy as does the animal issues and ever changing weather conditions. Other than that we're good.
Although weeds continue to grow, we continue to weed and cultivate. Sunny warm and breezy days are best for killing weeds but we don't have the option to only working those few ideal days. Pulling weeds on rainy, damp and cool days takes a few tricks of the trade to insure we don't have to repull them once the sun comes out - read "pet peeve" here. Weeds pulled and tossed on the ground during a rainy spell will usually regrow so you really haven't done anything to kill them, only slow them down a bit.
The best method of killing weeds in the rain is to toss the weeds onto the plastic in the field. There's no way a weed can live on plastic once the sun comes out. Well, at least this is the rule and the one exception I see right off quick is Purslane. This succulent will continue to grow, blossom and set seed whether it's in the ground or not. But this is the exception; most weeds will simply dry up and die once they are pulled and denied ground contact.
The weeds easiest to kill are also some of the more prolific ones: Redroot pigweed, galinsoga and lambsquarters are in the top five that come to mind right off quick. Both lambsquarters and galinsoga have extensive roots systems so they need to have their roots shaken off to remove soil before they are tossed. This really goes for all weeds, and if you make it a habit it becomes second nature soon.
Flaming weeds can be done in the rain, and although it takes more energy, sometimes you don't have a choice. One year awhile back we flamed four acres in the rain because we had a week of rain and that was the only method to kill them. It was a good save as the weeds would have been out of control had we waited for ideal conditions. Of course with all weed control, the smaller the weeds the easier they are to kill. Wait until a weed is 6 inches high and it not be easily killed by mechanical means. It is by far more advantageous to use mechanical means to kill weeds than hand weeding. Hand weeding is slow and painfully expensive. When I first started here, my boss showed me how to set up the cultivators and gave me a hoe. This was to "go back after you cultivate and get the ones you missed". After a few hours in the heat and broiling sun, you will learn how to set the cultivators up properly and how to cultivate as many weeds as possible before resorting to a hand hoe. Worked then and still works now.
Until next week, keep killing those weeds.