It is amazing what a little rain will do. It was dry last week and we were irrigating almost everyday, but once we got the actual rain everything grew like crazy. It was good for some crops like the tomatoes, which look like they grew a foot over the weekend. The lettuce, kohlrabi, kale, and onions all did well with the rain as well. However, the big winners over the weekend were the weeds!
I was feeling pretty good about our weed control a week ago. I knew there was some weeding to do, but it was manageable. Now I walk around and I fear for the survival or a few crops. This week will have to be a weeding week. Unfortunately, we were a little behind on getting our winter squash and watermelons in so we needed to get that finished first today. We also need to get all the tomato stakes in the ground so we can start stringing them up since they are growing so fast now too. It does seems like this always happens each year where there is a small lull towards the beginning of June, then we get a big rain and all the weeds come out like crazy.
I am trying something new in weed control this year. Last week we put down a little less than a quarter acre of black plastic ground cover.This is what I use in the greenhouse on the side where we grow the plant starts. It is just a weed barrier that is sturdier than the plastic mulch I used to use. I will be able to roll it up again in the fall and use it again next year. We have been planting our summer squash, muskmelons. and watermelons on the ground cover. You can see in the picture that everything is covered rather than just the beds with the plastic mulch. This helps with crops that send out vines like the melons because it can be hard to run the wheel hoe or rototiller between the beds when all the vines are in the way.
Part of me feels like this is cheating or that it really cannot be good for the soil to lay a think layer of plastic over the top for a few months. Maybe not though, maybe I should just lay this stuff over my entire field and transplant everything into it. Then we’d never have any weed problems. I cannot imagine transplanting every single carrot plant though. So for now, we’ll see how this works out this year. At least we won’t have to be weeding this part of the field in the next could of weeks. We can focus on everywhere else that is being overcome by the weeds.