Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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Are we done planting yet?

We started a spring garden this year, growing lettuces, kale, and collards and, of course, the strawberries.  We've been planting ever since.  If it is not actual plants then it’s seeds, but we've planted every weekend since late March.


We planted the rest of the cucumbers this past weekend.  At least I think we are done planting. I'd have to check with the boss to really see, but I see no plants and I'm not looking for seeds.  Why tempt fate and I'm certainly not going to ask, as a matter of fact I'm not going to let my wife edit this particular blog.  What she doesn't know I can't plant.  So now comes weeding, watering and watching, the three w's of organic growing and producing.  Weeding is broken into the three H's, hoeing hands, heat and spraying.  Okay spraying doesn't fit but we do control weeds by spraying concentrated vinegar, lemon juice, clove oil and lecithin.  The spray has a pleasant fragrance that I like but is not for everyone.  You can only use the spray if it is really hot out and it is not going to rain for awhile nor should it have rained for awhile, which doesn't make it the most ideal weed control but we use it when we can.

My most favorite way to weed is heat.  The heat is easier than the other methods but it does have its draw backs, I may have gotten a reputation for starting fires but it is not on purpose and I am very careful despite what my wife says.  I did set an old abandoned concrete silo on fire once by mistake and you never hear the end of it.  Please let me explain before you judge me.

The silo was made of concrete block and had no roof and was loaded with old wood from the previous owners.  My weeding tool is a propane tank with a hose and torch attached.  You turn it on, rub the flint for a spark and you have about 25,000 BTU to kill weeds.  I had been using the torch for over a year before the day the silo caught fire and I was pretty successful not burning things down except for weeds and maybe carrots.  I knew the silo was loaded with wood and in essence was a tinder box, so I was careful whenever I was around it with the flame. 

It was late in a long day of work and I wanted to get the weeding done; I  started around the silo then went around the barn and to the grape vines.  From the grape vines I went to the production garden and started doing the perimeter.  Out of the corner of my eye I see my wife running towards the silo.  I knew immediately why she was running; I turned to see flames licking out of the top of the silo.  When I got closer I could hear popping sounds and then clinks on the tin roof of the barn.  The pargeing from inside the silo was heating up and exploding out hitting the roof.  I took everything off and went to the barn to get the water pump.  I pulled the pump ou,t hooked up the hoses to the water tank and pulled to start the pump engine.  Of course, it doesn't start.  After three pulls it coughs to life and water starts to come out at the other end.  Once the water was flowing I was able to cool the fire down and eventually put the fire out.  It took about five hundred gallons of rain water to accomplish that feat but we did get it out.  


My wife was standing there eyes wide open, heart pounding and shell shocked.  What could I say, I had a torch, the silo caught fire and I was in the area, there was no wiggle room, none.  I think we were both in shock at the time so we put the pump and hoses back, I stowed the pump and we called it a day.  I look back and see how lucky we were, how things fell into place, the pump worked and we actually had water in the collection tank, Any one of those things not happening and we might have lost the barn.  So I still weed with heat but my wife prefers the hoe and hand method best.  I can laugh about it, but my wife is to the point were she can grin and shake her head but not quite laugh.  On second thought maybe I should stick to just planting. 


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