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SPRING TWITCH KILL

by Larry Ross, RR3 Clifford Ont. NOG lMO

We have been successful in working twitch out with cultivation easily and economically. I don't like summer fallowing with cultivation because rhizomes may dry out, but they can sprout again when they get wet. The tithe to eliminate the grasses is very early in the spring when they am emerging. They are very vulnerable at this time of year if they are stopped before they can make use of spring growing conditions.

I start to cultivate as soon as the grasses emerge and repeat every time it appears again for three or four weeks. I delay planting in these fields or use them for crops such as corn, millet, buckwheat, potatoes, carrots etc. This also kills some earlier broadleaf weeds.

We don't cultivate too deep as the rhizomes and weed seeds in this area are in a cool, dormant zone where they don't grow or germinate. I also avoid the use of a mouldboard plow, preferring to use cultivators, rototillers and chisel plows.

My main dislike of the mouldboard plow is that it places this year's weeds seeds in the cool, dormant zone while bring up other weeds that will germinate. These seeds can only be killed by keeping them in the active area to germinate and be killed by cultivation.

Working competitive crops into the rotation such as triticale, spelt, buckwheat, millet, rye, field peas etc. is good if you have a place for these crops.

I still have weeds, but my target is reasonable control, not total elimination.

Copyright 1993 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


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