Project Everest

Work Update

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

by
Zoe Cahill
Zoe Cahill | Jan 23, 2018 | in Knowledge Base

The Field Development team here in Fiji had a big first day of the final week, whereby we completed our monthly goal and completed the initial set up of our plot in Sigatoka. 

 

We have 28 beds (6m x 1.5m) and plans for a living fence on all sides to be included on the plot. When we returned to the plot today to do some cleaning, weeding and more digging, we found that the growth rate of the weeds was much more significant than we first thought. After spending a solid 4.5 hours on the plot with seven sets of hands, we only managed to free the majority of 3 beds of these weeds. Therefore making this process very time consuming and inefficient. 

 

We are in the middle of investigating ways that could potentially make this process faster as well as finding ways to slow the growth rate of grass and weeds. We discussed the use of chemicals as an initial way to clear the beds, but we steered away from that idea as we are trying to utilise more organic techniques on the plot. At this stage, we are planning to continue with the current method of weeding until we can find organic 'chemicals' to assist us.   If anyone has any other ideas of how we could mitigate/minimise this issue, or techniques that have previously worked, that would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

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Corey Middleton Jan 23, 2018

Could you possibly look into purchasing some weed mats? Or any makeshift covering which blocks light to the ground. It would require holes to be cut in in order to pull through plants which will be time consuming and the key consideration will be whether the mat impedes upon the ability to work to a blueprint.

But, they are effective at week mitigation.

Jute- matting
Jute-mesh
weed mat

For future beds, it may be possible to look into using a pre-emergent chemical in the months leading up to plot creation. This will most likely have to be managed by someone with chemical training, but it would go a long way to preparing an area that is free of weeds

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Zoe Cahill Jan 23, 2018

Thanks for that Corey. We will spend some time tomorrow brainstorming some potential methods and the benefits of these methods.

I have spoken with Zoe and we find some information on the internet about solarisation and the pros and cons of utilising this method.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/gardening-...e7c0fa509d3ce87
http://www.weekendgardener.net/organic-weed-k...tion-100710.htm

Both articles essentially say the same thing, however, I did notice it mentioned that those "who rely on growing their vegetables in raised beds should be aware that after the first two or three seasons, crop yields may decline." Seeing as though we are utilising raised beds this could potentially be a problem for us. But we will test it out on a couple of beds and see what happens.

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Emma Rickert Jan 24, 2018

You could also use a dry organic matter such as dead grass or coconut husks on mass to cover the beds if matting is difficult or expensive to source. This will have the same effect as weed matting, and crops will be able to be planted directly through them.

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Emma Rickert Jan 24, 2018

Hey Zo, have you considered using a fast growing, thick cover crop to protect the beds until you plant your desired crops? Cover crops act both physically and chemically to supress weeds as well as protect from erosion, they also add organic matter to the soil and aid in water retention. If you choose a legume, they also add N.
Some fast growing crops that could be of use in the Fijian climate include:
Cowpea and Mung bean. Perennial peanuts are also being trialled in some areas of Fiji but may be difficult to source.

These crops would ideally be planted directly after the forming of the bed, but could also be planted now, with effects seen in 2-3 weeks
Good Luck!

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Eva Bamber Jan 24, 2018

Hi Emma, love the idea! I have two questions: Firstly, will the cover crop get rid of the existing weeds on the bed or only prevent new ones from growing? And secondly, do we remove the cover crop before we can plant our actual desired crops?
Thanks! xx

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Eva Bamber Jan 24, 2018

Hi Emma, love the idea! I have two questions: Firstly, will the cover crop get rid of the existing weeds on the bed or only prevent new ones from growing? And secondly, do we remove the cover crop before we can plant our actual desired crops?
Thanks! xx

Reply 0

Eva Bamber Jan 24, 2018

Hi Emma, love the idea! I have two questions: Firstly, will the cover crop get rid of the existing weeds on the bed or only prevent new ones from growing? And secondly, do we remove the cover crop before we can plant our actual desired crops?
Thanks! xx

Reply 0

Eva Bamber Jan 24, 2018

Hi Emma, love the idea! I have two questions: Firstly, will the cover crop get rid of the existing weeds on the bed or only prevent new ones from growing? And secondly, do we remove the cover crop before we can plant our actual desired crops?
Thanks! xx

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Zoe Cahill Feb 5, 2018

^^^^

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Liv Hendy Jan 31, 2018

This is super interesting, we arrived on our plot today and discovered that the rice husks we had been using as organic matter to retain water actually germinated......so we have a lot of rice on our hands :/
Would be interesting as we are about to expand on our plot at the land mine museum and weeds are becoming an issue for us as well - have you found any tactics the team have been able to use to be more efficient with de-weeding?

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Zoe Cahill Feb 5, 2018

Hey Liv, i just posted something else about our weeds, its called Weeds, Weeds, Weeds vol. 2. Look at that and see if it provides any more answers.

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Mallory Dobner Jul 1, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

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