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Weed Soon and Weed Often

I always know that I am planting at the right time of the year because everything else around me is germinating too! And oh boy, it looks like it has been a good year for the other seedlings – AKA Weeds!

As an organic farmer, I have a fairly high tolerance for weeds and weed pressure. Really weeds are just misplaced plants or in my case, just happen to germinate in mass wherever I want a crop to grow! But I have learned a few things in my 20 years of farming: better to weed early, the earlier the better.

Given my high tolerance for weed, one could say that I have built a fortune of weed seeds in my farm’s “Weed Bank.” And just to be clear, I am not talking about marijuana, although in the 1970’s the largest marijuana crop was being illegally grown across the street from my farm. Now to be fair, this was before my time and the current neighbors. But as lore goes, the illegal crop was planted in the middle of a field of cow corn.  As luck or bad luck would have it, the marijuana outgrew the corn, and someone spotted it from a helicopter. As they say, “The rest is history.”.

Not to be outdone, the Miller Road lore continues. Nissan was filming a 300zx commercial on our road. Boys and testosterone are not a good mix for the windy farm road we live on. Well anyway, the same field that grew the marijuana/corn crop had been converted to pasture and the film crew was a little nervous with the bystanders observing all the happenings. Apparently, Ferdinand the Bull didn’t care for the color of a RED sports car cruising by, so they asked the farmer kindly to put the bull in the back field.

And lest you think I am telling another yarn, there was the time that a young man with a brand-new motorcycle was drawn to the Miller Road (must have a siren call). Just as he was feeling his “oats” (farm talk for being a little too big for “yer” britches) coming out of the first corner heading into the straight stretch he met the “S” curves and laid that bike out about 60 feet into my strawberry field. Thankfully, only his pride and his bike were bruised. Even more thankfully, my daughters had finished picking the berries about 30 minutes before! Still gives me the chills just to reminisce about it.

Boys, testosterone and the Miller Road. Thankfully, the Miller Road is now a dead end and we don’t get near the bypass traffic we used to.

Oh, back to the weeds. I am talking about dandelions, thistles, chickweed, pigweed, henbit, grasses, and Lamb’s quarter. Nothing to this farmer is more beautiful than a freshly tilled and planted field and nothing is more short lived than that memory. In a week it will look like a blanket of green and purple weeds. But if you plant straight rows and start weeding early, you can knock that first flush back. But the longer you wait the harder the work. So around here we try and weed soon and weed often!


Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Activist