Hoe, Hoe, Hoe Your Row

From the title, you can guess what I spent the bulk of my time at in the gardens today.

Clearing out newly-sprouting weeds between the beds of leeks and potatoes and cabbages and broccoli in the east central garden came first–pulling back the row cover on the second planting of cabbages to hoe between them and check their progress, pulling a little soil down into the leek trenches, too, so their shanks will be blanched and lengthy.

The second part of the afternoon was spent pulling mulch out of the west garden aisles so I could hoe the perennial weeds.  While the thick straw mulch works well in suppressing the annual weeds, the thistles and dandelions were starting to get a little too comfy with their lack of competition.

Removing the mulch

It’s impossible to use the back-and-forth action of a stirrup hoe effectively in a mulched path, and I frankly got tired of digging out every !@#$% Canada thistle that sprouted in there.  I’ll just keep hoeing them down and see how well that works.  Can they outlast me?  Keep tuning in…

I’ve ordered a little more straw from a local farmer for this season (thinking of using it more on the edges of the various gardens to prevent weed encroachment), and the straw I’m raking out is being piled up deeply on the edges.

The very top part of the green onion row also got dug out–there are a few shallots in there, but mostly it was thistles and dandelions and peppergrass in full flower.

But that was the spot I used to bring my overwintered leeks to seed last summer, and there were some nice-sized leeks coming back up in there–sprouted from the roots of their parents from what it looked like.

Those came home with me along with a new batch of asparagus spears, while the weeds stayed behind in a newly-forming compost pile that promises to be nice and hot with all the fresh young lambs quarter I pulled out of the salad mix row yesterday.

And yes, I know lambs quarter is perfectly edible.  In fact, it’s one of H’s favorite weedy greens.  I offered for him to come and pluck all he wanted out of that 150 square foot bed of salad mix, but he caught on to my Tom Sawyer fence-painting ways.

Tonight’s dinner was a kind of cobbled-together mixture of various mostly green things–a big sauté with leeks, a few bits of bacon from our whole hog, chopped asparagus, and the last of the broccoli raab thinnings.

It was quick to make and even quicker to be eaten served with onion rye bread and Dimmock chipotle cheddar.


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