Tag Archives: Garden

Kenyon hoe needed sharpening

The mighty Kenyon 2-way hoe

The Kenyon hoe is known by other names.  It is also called a scuffle hoe or possibly even a stirrup hoe.  Regardless of the name it is one of the most used tools in our Mittleider garden.  From time to time the edge gets beat up due to normal use and needs fixed.  It is an easy process and only requires a small file.

The edge of our Kenyon 2-way hoe was getting a little beat up and becoming difficult to pull through this very dry heavy clay soil.  Rather than throw it away or paying someone to repair it we elected to do it ourselves.  A quick dressing took us just a minute or two with a file and as a result we got the edge back in good condition and working better.

Using a file to sharpen a Kenyon hoe
Sharpening a Kenyon gardening hoe with a file

To fix the edge of your Kenyon hoe with a file

It is an easy process and a decent file is inexpensive.  If you don’t have one this flat file is just $6.21 and will do the job.  Keep the file at the same angle as the edge of the hoe.  A few passes will remove any burrs and dress that edge back to serviceable condition as a result of your effort.  During normal use you will hit small rocks and other such debris that will slightly damage the cutting edge.

Stanlet mill file
A good file choice for sharpening a Kenyon hoe

Do you want to put your own Kenyon hoe together?

In this YouTube video I show you how I assembled our Kenyon hoe and gave a quick example of it working in the garden.  These are an amazing tool and should probably  be present in every garden.  The Kenyon hoe allows you to remove the same amount of weeds from your garden with far less work than a traditional hoe.

 

Remove insect eggs with a lint roller

Remove insect eggs in your garden with a lint roller

For the gardener who wants to limit damage to crops and vegetables you should consider how to remove insect eggs. Preventing the eggs from ever hatching because they’ve been removed from the garden entirely is far more effective than spraying.

This past spring I had someone share with me a tip that makes the task of removing insect eggs in your garden much easier.  He uses an inexpensive lint roller to remove insect eggs. You can buy a travel sized lint roller like the one in the picture below at Walmart for 99 cents.

lint roller used to remove insect eggs in the garden
lint roller used to remove insect eggs in the garden

An alternative to lint rollers

If you don’t want to go buy a lint roller to remove those pesky eggs you might have a roll of sticky tape like duct tape around the home.  Pull of 8 to 10 inches of it and stick itself together in a loop with the adhesive side out.  With one hand hold the tape and apply your other hand on the opposite of the leaf to give you something to press against.  Touch the tape to the eggs and apply light pressure until all the eggs are removed.

These squash bug eggs were removed with a piece of duct tape
remove squash bug eggs with duct tape

When eggs are laid next to large leaf veins

With crops like zucchini where there is a large vein on the backside of the leaf the duct tape actually works better than the lint roller.  When the eggs are laid next to those large veins the round lint roller will roll onto the vein and pass right over several eggs.  In these instances the duct tape works better.  When pruning and removing insect eggs from our squash plants I now use only the duct tape.

use duct tape for squash bug eggs laid next to a large leaf vein
squash bug eggs laid next to a large leaf vein

Watch insect eggs get removed with a lint roller

After trying it I had to get a little video to show just how well it works.  Typically we use the lint roller on cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower.

selecting garden row direction

Selecting garden row direction

Garden rows and which direction they should run is a topic that is discussed frequently.  Selecting garden row direction doesn’t matter if your tall crops are planted in the right rows. With a Mittleider garden the rows running in either direction work well with a couple simple rules.

The direction of your rows should be determined by the natural slope of your garden area.  In a Mittleider garden grown in your own soil your rows need to be level.  Using the contour of your gardening area you layout your rows is best.  This will require the least amount of work to keep those rows level.

If your garden rows run north and south you will want to plant any tall crops in the rows to the east.  This permits the shorter crops to get a full 6-8 hours of afternoon sun and prevent them from being shaded out.

For the garden rows that run east to west the gardener would likewise plant tall and vertical crops would be planted in the rows on the north side of your garden.  Allowing all your plants to get a full 6-8 hours of sunlight is one of the six laws of plant growth with the Mittleider Gardening system.

selecting garden row direction should be based on which direction makes them level
Garden rows running north and south

I’ve heard rows running one direction work best

Because of the contour and available growing area in our yard we have two garden areas.  One has rows running north and south while the second has rows going east and west.  Both produce equally well.  This is true because we plant our tall and vertical crops to ensure everything gets adequate light. Light is the 1st of the 6 laws of plant growth in a Mittleider garden.

Are there any row directions to avoid?

With a Mittlieder garden the only rows you need to avoid are ones that will face south.  A south facing row will be in shadow and prevent the plants from getting adequate sunlight.  There are other considerations on selecting a garden location that will be covered in a fewer blog entry.

See our gardening areas in this video

In this quick video you can see our two Mittleider gardening areas and hear the reason why row directions don’t matter

Growing tomatoes vertically in a Mittleider garden 

These tomatoes are being grown vertically as part of the Mittlieder Gardening Method in Kidder, MO.   They’re pruned and wound around heavy bailing twine to maximize the sunlight and air to the plants while making it easy to harvest.  No wire cages to fight here!   The 2×4 is just over 7 feet from the ground.  Some of those tomato plants are 10 feet tall.

This week I’ve been attending a Mittleider gardening course and have had the opportunity see the system implemented and learn so much.   I will have many more Mittleider posts in the future as I convert my traditional garden to a Mittlieder

  
 

The first tomato for the year

Soph went out this morning and took this picture of our first tomato to begin turning red.  It is an heirloom variety, Mr Stripey, and is our first year growing it.   It should be ready for picking in a couple more days.  If we like it then we will save some seeds for next year.   

We have three different heirloom varaties that we are growing this year, two of them are new to us.  In addition to the Mr Stripey I’m once again growing the purple Cherokee that I enjoy.   Our other new variety is a yellow pear cherry.  I enjoy the bite size tomatoes but Soph is crazy about them.  
 

Electric fence to protect the garden from rabbits

Our poor garden is being destroyed by rabbits.  Instead of building a permanent fence around it I’ve elected to try an electric one to deter the little buggers.  I don’t mind sharing but they’ve eaten ALL the green beans

Initially the electric fence will be about 2 1/2 feet tall. If I find they’re smart enough to start going over the top it will be easy to add insulators and additional wire to make it taller.  If I can keep it at this height We will be able to easily step over the fence and not have to bother with turning it off to gain access to the garden

The fence charger needed to be mounted some where that it can be protected from the elements.  Instead of mounting it under the beck porch and running the wire out to the garden I elected to mount it inside a plastic Cabelas ammo container I’ve had sitting around.  My thought process was this would allow me to place the charger right at the fence while cutting down on wire for myself and the family from running into accidentally.  Mounting it inside the ammo can will also provide an easy way to store and transport it.

The wire itself is five rows high.  To prevent it from shorting out on the grass it received some attention from the weed eater to trim all the grass and the application of Round Up to prevent the grass from growing.