Worden Farm Field Notes: March 28, 2017

We use a variety of cultural techniques, such as tractor cultivation and mulching, to control weeds in many of our organic vegetable crops. Weeds will ruin a crop if they are not controlled, so effective weed control is critical.

Maintaining low weed populations during a crop cycle will keep crop quality high for those crops that currently are growing, and also for the future crops yet to be planted,. The future crops are protected from weeds by keeping the weed seed bank low in the field soils, through weed control in the current crop. If the weed plants cannot get mature enough to reproduce, then they will not spread more seed that could sprout during a future crop cycle.

As we get toward the end of the season, we have a little bit more free time in our days. Recently, we have been adapting an old tractor cultivation implement and setting it up in a new configuration. It now can be automatically adjusted with a quick push of a switch from the tractor seat, instead of manually resetting it. This will make it quicker to use, and will improve cultivation of a variety of our crops.

We have been designing this cultivator over several years, bringing together multiple features so that it does a better job than existing commercially available tools. This is an example of the kinds of custom tools that we like to build, specifically for our organic vegetable cropping system.

The goal when we take the time to make improvements like this cultivator at this time of year is to get to a point where we can go to the field to try it out, before all of the vegetable crops are gone for the season. Then we can see how it performs, and refine it, retest it, and then put the finishing touches on it during the summer months, so it is ready for next season.



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