Monday, June 14, 2010
Another new advneture had here on the farm last week was using the flame weeder. A fairly simple looking device but it was actually rather intimidating. The barbeque tank is super heavy when full and trying to haul that along with a torch was rather awkward, so I enlisted the help of a friend and our wheelbarrow. He pushed the wheel barrow with the propane tank and I walked ahead with the wand in the row of not yet emerged carrots and flamed away. It was a little scarry just getting it started and a slight turn of the knob sent the mild flame into a jet plane sounding roar. It was exciting to see the weeds wither and die and I could hear my back thanking me for all the hours that will not be spent bent over hand weeding the rows. We flamed the carrots and the parsnips. I would have liked to have flamed the beets as well but they had already emerged so I was too late. One row of carrots had also emerged so it should show the difference between the flamed and non flamed carrots rows. I'm a little worried I may have had the heat on too high and cooked the tiny seedlings that had not yet emerged, time will tell.
Derek also used the flamer on the asparagus as seen below. The flamer works the best on broad leaf weeds such as pig weed and corn spurry (our two main weeds) but not so well on grasses.
I'll post more pictures as the carrots grow to show the flamed carrots rows verses the unflamed carrots row. I'm also going to try it on onions, they are getting quite big and its hard to get the hoe between the plants so I think I might try putting the flamer on a row to see how successful that will be. I've read that onions can take quite a bit of heat without being damaged. I'm also going to try it on potatoes for weed and beetle control.