Weed management and prevention.

Here at Just Roots we do a lot of weeding. On average we spend 2-3 hours a day weeding. Some days were worse than others. Harvesting takes up a lot of time so we would often neglect weeding. When this happens the weeds take over and can grow out of control. I had a really hard time weeding when the plants grew past my knees. There were many days I left the farm with blistered hands and a sore back. Once in a while we would use hoes to help us weed. Hoes do a good job at loosening the soil and disturbing the roots of weeds so that they are easier to pull up. A wide array of weeds grow on the farm. We mostly pulled thick tall grass species, pigweed, clover, lambs quarter, and purslane. Clover, lambs quarter, and purslane are all edible and have significant nutritional value. Halfway through my time spent working on the farm we had influx of hired workers. To our good fortune we had about 6 high school students who would come and work from 8-12. We called them the "green team" because their job was almost entirely dedicated to weeding only. Many hands makes for light work!

Weed prevention is very important in any agricultural setting. At Just roots we use a few different methods for preventing weeds. One method I believe to be most effective is cover cropping. Cover cropping involves planting vegetation in soil that was previously used for agricultural purposes. Planting cover crops helps to suppress weeds and diseases and is also effective at restoring and recycling nutrients to the soil. Some crops we use for cover cropping are white clover, winter rye, and buckwheat. Buckwheat does a good job at weed suppression. This plant grows very fast and is a great competitor for water, sun, and soil nutrients. Another method we use for weed prevention is planting with biodegradable soil covers. Soil covers block out sunlight so that the weeds have a hard time germinating.

Lamb's Quarter (edible)

Purslane (edible)

Buckwheat (cover crop)

Biodegradable soil cover