Zipties on a weed-whacker: an experiment

weed-whacker experiment

Have you’ve seen the post going around facebook that shows a homesteader using zipties on a weed-whacker instead of the spool of weed-eater line?

This post came across my facebook feed last week and seemed like an ingenious idea, so this weekend as I worked in the garden I gave it a try to see if it really works.

weed-whacker experimentI removed the spool from my Ryobi weed-whacker, put on a couple of zipties and trimmed them to length. Then I set to work in the garden to knock down some grasses and pig-weed that had gotten away from me.

The zip-ties cut the grass, but it wasn’t as clean a cut as I get with the weed-eater line, and my trusty weed-whacker made a lot more noise then she usually does─if you can possibly imagine a weed-whacker being any louder. Then, as I went to tackle the pig-weed, I brushed the weed-whacker up against a post in the garden and one of the zipties snapped right off!

weed-whacker experiment fail

After my failed experiment I reviewed the comments under the facebook post and found a few folks who also had tried the zipties-on-a-weed-whacker experiment. They report similar findings─that the zipties broke easily. One person suggested using industrial grade zipties, to which a woman in Arizona reported that the industrial zipties are all they use because in their heat and sun lesser plastics degrade too quickly, and she still had this method fail for her.

I wouldn’t say this experiment was a total fail, it did work and in a pinch you could certainly use the zipties. Probably if you have just a lawn to maintain and were only using your weed-whacker to trim things up after you’ve mowed this would work just fine. However, if─like me─you have a large area to manage, a large garden and more, and you have weeds that sometimes get unruly, I feel like the weed-eater line is still the better option.

Have you tried the zipties-on-a-weed-whacker experiment? If you have any thoughts or suggestions feel free to leave a comment below! Be sure to subscribe to the Runamuk blog by email to receive updates directly to your inbox; OR follow us on Instagram for sneak-peeks into the day-to-day happenings at Runamuk Acres!

Garden of weedin

weeding tools
weeding tools
My 2 favorite tools for weeding.

This morning before I left for work at Johnny’s Selected Seeds I spent about an hour and a half pulling weeds and grass-rhizomes out of one of the beds. The bean-seeds that I had planted there were older seed and very few spouted, so rather than trying to pick all the weeds out around the three or so bean-plants, I decided to hoe the whole bed and resow with brand new seed.

My first priority upon moving to this property was to establish a new garden. I knew  right away the spot where I wanted to put it; it’s a stretch of flat ground beside the fence that runs along the road.

During initial conversations with the Murphys there was some speculation about how the patch of ground had been created. Some thought that the town fire department had come and dug the pond deeper to make a better water source in case of emergency. But then later on when a gentleman who used to work alongside Jim stopped in, I was informed that Jim had engineered the garden patch to possess the qualities that most plants prefer to grow in.

In both stories Jim hauled rock and dirt to the location to build up this 30-foot by 100-foot garden. Either way the result is a very fine garden spot with very good growing soil. Unfortunately Jim never got the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and the garden had grown over with grass and weeds during the last two years.

buckwheat cover crop
Buckwheat coming up at the other end of the garden.

First year gardens are notorious for their weeds. Knowing this, I cover-cropped two-thirds of the garden with buckwheat in hopes of crowding out weeds (buckwheat is excellent bee-forage). I also lay cardboard and landscaping fabric on the rows where my tomatoes, peppers, and squash-family crops are growing, and then put mulched hay over my potato-neighborhood.

I had hopes of keeping up with the exposed portion of the garden, where the carrots and greens are sown, but while I was busy getting the bees settled into the apiary the garden was left a little neglected. Then to make matters worse, we’ve had some rain here in Maine the last few days and despite my best efforts to smother weeds in my first-year garden, some areas have gotten a little out of hand.

There are 2 beds like this–planted with older bean seed. I did not place my typical large seed order this year; with finances so tight, I opted to make do with my stores of seeds. Some of those seeds however are more than 2 years old (some seeds in my collection are even older), so while it was a little disappointing, I wasn’t overly surprised when I saw poor germination of that seed.

weeds
Weeds!

 

It’s almost worth the delay in green beans though, to be able to take time to haul more of these grass rhizomes out of the garden.