Farmer, Intern, and Researcher Introductions

Before we dig into some good weed management discussion, let’s start with introductions so we all know who we’re talking to! Reply to this post and feel free to answer any questions below that are applicable to you, and add anything else you want share with the rest of the group. Photos of your farm, crops, weeds, tools, etc. always encouraged.

  • Your name, and the name and location of your farm/institution
  • What do you produce? What crop(s) are you cultivating for this research project?
  • How do you typically control weeds in these crops?
  • What new tools are you testing?
  • What is the greatest weed management challenge on your farm?
  • What are you hoping to gain coming out of this project?

Alex McCaffree, Calyx Farm, Morrill Maine

We produce vegetables. Some of the crops that we are cultivating are onions, beets, and other 3 row crops.

Typically we cultivate by a hula or trapezoid hoe, a torsion rake, and lastly hand weeding.

We are testing the terratek double wheel hoe with all the cultivating add ons

The greatest challenge is getting the weeds when it is the smallest stage, while everything else also needs to happen on the farm. Seems like we miss that window often and resort to hand weeding.

Hoping to gain a better understanding of some of the market tools that the research team has to offer and see if it works for our farm. And so far noticing when we time myself using the terratek it is 3 times faster than my current system of hula hoe and torsion rake weeding.

Hi everyone. My name is Seth Kroeck and I farm certified organic root crops (primarily carrots), wild low bush blueberries, a few specialty nightshades and am looking to add some small grains to my rotations in the coming seasons. I have been a grower for 24 years and have farmers in CA, MA, NY and for the past 18 years have been on Crystal Spring Farm in coastal Brunswick, Maine. My soils are loamy sand (emphasis on sand) and for much of the last couple decade we ran a large scale CSA. The past three season we have transitioned from the multi-crop intensive CSA growing to a few crops on larger scale. Part of the motivation for this change (there than labor issues) was the growing weed seed bank in the super diverse crop lineup for the csa. Especially grasses and for some reason carpetweed…!!!
Mechanical weed control has been crucial in keeping weeds in check, especially with our big crop, carrots. These first few years we have broken the bank hand weeding costs but recently have seen a marked reduction in weed populations after focussing on intensive cover cropping, summer bare fallows with regular stale bed cultivation, and hyper management of weed seed rain.
Our current weed control protocol for root crops is to set-up 3-row beds using yeomans plow points. We used an Imants spader for this in our CSA days but found it too slow and felt we didn’t need to work the whole bed top. After opening we let the bed sit for a week minimum waiting for weeds to germinate. If we are not having regular rain we irrigate at this point to encourage weed growth. We then come in with a basket weeder belly mounted on a case 265 offset tractor. The basket is set-up with sweeps in the spaces where the rows will be to disturb the whole bed-top. This kills off the just arguing weeds and smoothes out thee bed from the rough set-up with the yeomans. We repeat this process with the basket again the day before seeding and hopefully we have given time for another flush of weeds to come that the basket then kills.
We seed root crops using a 3 row vacuum seeder. the rows are 18" apart and in each row 2 lines of seed are set with about 2.5cm between these lines. Again, if we are not having rain we irrigate at this point to encourage even germination, This is especially important for beet and parsnip germ. Far carrots we then come in 6 days later (this timing works for us here May 1-July 4) and flame weed the beds with the jets focussed on the rows of seed. Like clockwork the carrots emerge the next day. Beets are usually 4 days…parsnips are all over the map.
A week after this we cultivate with the basket, dropping out the sweeps. This year we have been experimenting with a “blade” the drops in the space where then sweep was over the row. This blade is a sharpened vertical piece of 1/8" steel on a shank. The blade is set to dirty the 2.5cm area between the double line of carrots. The jury is still out on if this kills more weeds than collateral damage to carrots. This basket weeder run is slow about 1.5-2mph and does a great job killing between row weeds. Sweeps and a couple beet knives follow the tractors and clean up the aisles and outside bed edges. We use the baskets 2 more times before the carrots out grow it and then we make a pass with a beet knife set-up followed by final cultivation with finger weeders.
We are trying out a HAK 3-point set up on loan from Umaine.This steerable machine has mini discs and mini side knives mounted outside the row and a weighted “rake” that have modified to work like our basket weeder blade to disturb between the double seed line.
Again, looking forward to connecting with everyone’s work on this project.

Adam Nordell & Johanna Davis, Songbird Farm, Unity ME

We grow cereal grains, flint corn, dry beans, greenhouse crops, melons and sweet potatoes. We used the Kult Kress finger weeders and beet knives on our dry beans and flint corn with only moderate success, mostly owing to poor field prep earlier in the season. We typically cultivate these crops with an einbock tine weeder, field cultivator and then often hill the corn at last cultivation. The in-row weeds are always the biggest problem.

We’ve been excited to learn more about the Kult Kress cultivation equipment and glean new cultivation strategies from Eric and Ruthie.

Hi Alex,
Thanks for the introduction! I’m curious how you are running your terratek. Are you using the finger weeders, or torsions, or sideknives or combinations? We have a couple farms in Michigan just getting started testing the terrateck. I don’t have much experience with this tool, but it seems like there is a tradeoff between using it with multiple stacked tools and ease of handling. Seems like it is much easier to push when we have just fingers on it, and that we get better action of the fingers then if we try to use side-knives in front. What is your experience?

Hi Seth,
It was good meeting you at the zoom happy hour. Thanks for taking the time to join. In looking back at your post I wonder if you have any photos of your HAK set-up. I’m curious what the ‘mini-discs’ look like and how you are using them. Are those ‘cutaway disks’? Do you think you’d use them instead of the basket weeder to get close to your carrots? We sometimes use the Kult-Kress ‘Duo’ system to do this. Curious how the Hak version compares. I’m also eager to hear how your blade works out!

Hello my name is Reilly Ford. I am working at Full Hollow Farm in Belding, MI. At Full Hollow we grow a variety of organic vegetables. We are cultivating carrots for the research project. Typically the carrots are cultivated using an Allis Chalmers G tractor with belly mounted finger weeders and sweeps. The tool we are testing is the Terrateck double wheel hoe with the finger weeder attachment and side knives. We are hoping to gain more knowledge about the Terrateck wheel hoe and test to see if it would be useful for on farm cultivation.

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