Mulched Rhubarb: Weed 'Em and Reap Part 1

See video

Source:

Weed 'Em and Reap Part 1: Tools for Non-Chemical Weed Management in Vegetable Cropping Systems [DVD]. A. Stone. 2006. Oregon State University Dept. of Horticulture. Corvallis, Oregon. Available at: http://www.weedemandreap.org (verified 17 Dec 2008).

Featuring

Rob Heater, Stahlbush Island Farms. Corvallis, OR.

Audio Text

We’re taking clean wheat straw; we make sure it’s free of any annual ryegrass seed; we’re buying that and applying it with a John Deere HydroPush  manure spreader. It ends up being between a five and seven inch mat of straw we put down. Just after we harvest the rhubarb on the summer pull, as soon as that’s done, we’ll put some chicken manure compost down, put a new batch of straw down as a weed block. We’re finding that lasts almost a year. It’s starting to get weedy out here now, but this field has been relatively clean the last eleven months. In that eleven months, we’ve only had to hoe it three times. Two of them were really, really quick: four to six people, four hours going across 8.5 acre field, just pulling a weed here a weed there. We’re trying to keep stuff from going to seed so we don’t put weed seeds back into the field. We like the fact that the straw mulch is providing a lot of organic matter as it breaks down. It is feeding the soil and all the organisms in the soil, along with the chicken compost we put down. Normally we have to spray the rhubarb fields in the winter, like December, January, or February with Gramoxone (not allowed for use on organic farms) to burn all the weeds down. We didn’t have to spray this field, there weren’t any weeds.