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Old 09-27-2012, 01:27 AM   #26
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You live in Indiana, James. I grew up in Iowa. Soils there are exceptionally easy to work, highly fertile, and the major weeds are easy to get up.

Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.

In my garden, a hoe is as useless as a plastic spoon. No, wait, I can use plastic spoons for plant markers.

caw
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:42 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
You live in Indiana, James. I grew up in Iowa. Soils there are exceptionally easy to work, highly fertile, and the major weeds are easy to get up.

Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.

In my garden, a hoe is as useless as a plastic spoon. No, wait, I can use plastic spoons for plant markers.

caw
Our soil is a heavy clay, which is hard to break up, but a breeze when maintained properly. The only really unclearable weed we have is Balsam, an invasive species.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himalayan_Balsam

Once you get that shit garden, be prepared to move to another house.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:10 AM   #28
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Heat-sterilising your soil is going to kill off all the bacteria and little animals which keep your soil friable and alive: it's really only a good idea for compost, and not for soil beds. It's not the best way to proceed.

And the most useless gardening implement? According to my boys, anything that's not a digger or a tractor. They like their machinery.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:48 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
You live in Indiana, James. I grew up in Iowa. Soils there are exceptionally easy to work, highly fertile, and the major weeds are easy to get up.

Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.

In my garden, a hoe is as useless as a plastic spoon. No, wait, I can use plastic spoons for plant markers.

caw
I've used hoes in a lot of states, and on some seriously hard ground.

The trouble, I think, is that too many buy those cheap, light, WalMart type hoes. They're useless for early season work. You use them after the garden has nothing left but the plants you want. Few understand that a good hoe is heavy, and that you have to keep the blade sharp. A good hoe, properly sharpened, can cut through a tree root, which is something I've had to do many times when first clearing a garden. I've also cleared a lot of raspberry roots with a hoe.

The real trick, however, is not letting anything take root in a garden that you don't want there. A good garden is de-weeded below root level before you plant anything, and it's then worked twice per day to keep everything out that doesn't belong there.

My garden starts with a tractor, which cuts out anything and everything. Then the disc, then the sifting, and there isn't much left. Work the garden twice per day after planting, and nothing has a chance of taking hold.

Even in Indiana, if you let some things take root, or let more than a day go by without clearing, you can run into problems.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:47 AM   #30
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Which type of hoe are we talking here? Dutch hoe or drawing hoe? (by which I mean this)

A drawing hoe is pretty handy and, like James say, if it's sharp it can cut through a lot and is great for digging drills, turning over soil etc even in heavy soil (I live on clay that only has to see a raindrop to get clogged). I've taken out pretty well grown bushes with one of those. Dutch hoes are good for light soils/taking off newly rooted weeds in well worked soil.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:07 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
My garden starts with a tractor, which cuts out anything and everything. Then the disc, then the sifting, and there isn't much left. Work the garden twice per day after planting,
In other words, you're a farmer, not a gardener. Not many people have time, space or equipment to work at this level.

At this point, however, my garden would require dynamite. In another month, maybe something thermonuclear. Meantime, below, those raspberries are putting forth roots about half-an-inch a day, and Alaska raspberries are tough sonsabitches by spring thaw. Like I said, I've used a hatchet on some of those roots.

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and nothing has a chance of taking hold.
And obviously you have no familiarity with Alaskan chickweed.

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:08 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
Not anything like that here in Alaska. Unless you grow everything in pots, you have to deal not only with the prolific vining chickweed, there's also now the invasive and even worse Siberian crown vetch, and raspberries, which produce underground roots tough as high-tension wires. Those you have trouble cutting with a sharp shovel and a lot of work. I have at times used hatchets on them.
Hey neighbour, we're on the BC/Yukon border and have raised beds lined with vapour barrier. Won't get anything creeping up from below that way. Also, we're religious mulchers, so between that, the vapour barrier and weeding when stuff is still small, I don't find weeds a big deal
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #33
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I use either a stirrup or collinear hoe on the morning of a hot day. It cuts the weeds off at the base rather than uprooting them. The sun wilts the weeds that are uprooted and they don't re-root. I never hoe on a wet day, only hand weed into a bucket.
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:00 PM   #34
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For most useless garden tool I nominate the Mantis tiller. It's so lightweight that unless the soil's already broken up thoroughly it simply bounces up and down. It is effective, though, for beating the hell out of the operator.
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