Q. As I look at the 18″ wide beds with their side ridges it seems to me that this is an entirely hands and knees gardening project – in order to work within the little ridges and maintain them – you have to be down on all fours with a one-hand three tine cultivator – weeds it would seem have to be pulled by hand once the water pipes are factored in along with the posts for tying up vertical plantings, PVC hoops for holding protective coverings etc etc etc. My favorite hand tool in the garden is the potato digger (some call it a potato hook) it works well for many things including cultivating and weeding but I see little use for it in the Mittleider Method: Am I correct or am I missing something here?
A. If you are weeding this way you are missing a very substantial benefit of the Mittleider Method of gardening. This writer hasn’t discovered our Weeding Secret Weapons! I NEVER weed on my hands and knees, and I hope you don’t either.
Look at the Tools section of the website and learn about the Two-Way Hoe. This and your rake are the tools that will make weeding SO MUCH EASIER when you know how and do it soon enough.
Next, go to the Learn section of the website and click on the Weeding chapter. This is a quick read, but VERY important for you to understand and implement on a regular basis. If I didn’t weed this way I couldn’t begin to grow and maintain a 1/2 acre garden in the little time I have. Each of the Mittleider gardening books also has a chapter on proper and timely weeding. I recommend them highly.
The simple keys are 1) Weed as soon as the first weeds appear, and do it thoroughly! 2) Pulling down your ridges and raking them back up again only takes about 5 minutes per bed, and eliminates the large majority of weeds as they first germinate. 3) If you’re using the Automated Watering System, lift the PVC pipe out of the bed and run the 2-way hoe down the center between your plants, to eliminate weeds in the planting area. 4) If using T-Frames for your climbing plants, place them on one side of the bed in the ridge, leaving the planting area open for weeding, watering, and feeding. 5) Proper and timely weeding eliminates the need for ever using herbicides, and reduces pest and disease infestations as well.