Video Clip: Sweeps from Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines


Vegetable Farmers and their Weed-Control Machines [DVD]. V. Grubinger and M.J. Else. 1996. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase at (verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Weed Control Machines video clip.

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Bob Gray, Four Corners Farm. Newbury, V

Audio Text

I want to talk about these cultivator sweeps and what they do but as I look here I want to remind you of something very important. You should never let your cultivator sweeps rust, and I always do because I seem to get too busy to clean them up. They’ll rust literally over night because of the acidity of the soil or something. Once they rust the dirt doesn’t slide smoothly over the cultivator, it boils over, so it doesn’t do nearly as nice a job of cultivating. You really want to slice just under the ground with a cultivator, an inch or half inch deep. Once you get dirt sticking to it, it begins to boil and roll and doesn’t do nearly as nice a job. That’s just because it rusted. It gets sticky. By rights they should be cleaned off every time you get through and oiled. And if you have rust on there it should be sanded until they’re really smooth. We have a problem where we don’t cultivate enough; we don’t have enough acreage at one time so that they get smoothed up. If you’re cultivating ten acres then by that time they’ll finally get all shiny and smooth. But here the rust lasts from one time to another.

We try to set these cultivator shanks, sweeps they’re called, so that they’ll throw dirt underneath the plant and bury up any weeds. Lots of times my dad used to say there are two ways to kill a weed, you know, you can cut it off or you can bury it up. I think sometimes burying up a weed is just as successful as actually digging it up. When you dig it up it still has a root. When you cover it up you smother it and it’s just not going to grow. So all you want to do is throw dirt over the weeds with your cultivator sweeps like this and bury them up. If you get them when they’re an inch or so tall it works very very well. So you can move these in or out so they do just what you want them to do.

Speed is important. The Lilliston likes to go fast, that’s the cultivator in the rear, and if you can go fast and not hit the plants with these why then it will work even better because it will throw the dirt more.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).

Published May 27, 2011

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