By Mary Ellis
CFAC hosted its second Farmer Field Day of the season last week at Mill Crick and Fourth Wave Farms. Participants got the chance to learn how to combat weeds at different growth stages and see several types of weed management equipment in action.
Mill Crick & Fourth Wave Farms is a farming partnership in Hamilton and Corvallis. Mill Crick Farmer Randi Mark recently joined forces with Lindsey Aull of Fourth Wave Farm to grow everything from carrots to cut flowers to blue oyster mushrooms for market, farmstand, and wholesale. Randi and Lindsey continue to hone their weed management plan each season and shared with workshop attendees what they have learned over the years.
Throughout the workshop participants got to see weeds from the string stage (when weeds first pop up) all the way to the disaster stage (when the weeds overtake a crop). Randi and Lindsey walked us through their process of controlling weeds throughout these different stages and what to consider when making your weed management plan.
When weeds are at the string stage Lindsey and Randi use a flame weeder, which participants got to see in action. Once the weeds get past this stage they use several different tools depending on the crop and spacing of each plant.
We finished the tour with a trip to an area of the farm where weeds had taken over. Randi and Lindsey both explained how to make decisions on whether it is worth it to do extensive weeding and save the crop.
At the end of the field tour participants gathered at Mill Crick Farm’s original location on Dutch Hill Rd in Hamilton for a potluck of delicious food.
Our next Farmer Field Day will be on August 7 at Forbidden Fruit Orchard near Paradise, MT. Owners Tom and Lynn McCamant sell their fresh fruit at Missoula and Clark Fork River Markets, as well as through the Western Montana Growers Coop. They grow a wide variety of fruit including peaches, cherries, apricots, and nectarines. As part of this field day, Tom will discuss orchard systems and the challenges of growing fruit in Western Montana. Register soon to reserve your spot!
Our field days are geared toward people who are just at the beginning of their farm exploration—farmhands, interns, folks thinking about starting a farm in the near future, and those who are currently in the startup process. Of course, established farmers and ranchers are welcome too!