The corn season has arrived and farmers hope for high yields. They strive to keep weeds and pests from destroying their crops, spraying and adding nutrients to the soil. However, things look different in organic farms. Labor is more intensive, and, on most occasions, people and animals take the place of herbicides. Weeding is a problem. Weeds compete with corn for nutrients and moisture from the soil. To get rid of the annoying weeds, either a weed killer, or a hoe can be used. The second choice is healthier, whereas a weed killer may seem more convenient. In most cases, these chemicals can cause more harm than good, if not applied properly. On the other hand, hoeing weeds involves a lot of physical labor and a great deal of time and energy.
There are, however, farmers who still do it the hard way. Hoeing weeds can either be done using a hand hoe, or with animal traction. Horse hoeing is common in rural areas. It involves the use of a horse hoe attached to a horse, while the farmer holds the handles. Otherwise, a hand hoe can do the job, but prepare for hours spent in the sunlight. Controlling weed development is essential to obtain high and quality yields. Weeds must be destroyed usually twice before the corn grows tall enough so that its shade depresses weeds’ growth.
The first hoeing and weeding should be done by the time weeds are about 3-4 in, tall enough to affect the crop. Early season weed control is vital, because young weeds absorb important nutrients from the soil. The second weeding is done four weeks later, or earlier, if rains followed the first weeding. Weeds can be destroyed by either slicing them off, pulling or dragging them out of the soil, or burying them.
Location: Village of Iaslovăț, Suceava County, Romania
Update: In loving memory of Magdalena Tofan, we are saddened to announce her passing on Friday, July 2, 2021, at the age of 90. Magdalena was one of the last authentic Romanian peasants who loved to share the knowledge she acquired throughout her life. May she rest in peace!
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