Video Clip: Custom Cultivator for Plastic Edges 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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John Arena Jr., Arena Farms. Concord, MA.

Audio Text

This tractor is set up with cultivating disks for doing along the edges of plastic without the use of herbicides and very minimal hand weeding. This is set up with a straight tooth right here, it’s at a slight angle to get underneath the black plastic and also kind of lifts it up a little bit so any weeds that are germinating or small weeds that are there really get disturbed by that. Followed by a second round cultivating disk which again throws dirt out and disturbs the weeds. And the last disk here returns the soil back onto the plastic edge where this first one had taken it off a little bit.

All these tools here are simple cultivating tools; a straight tooth, it does have a spring if you have rocky fields; the tractor is a Super C Farmall from International Harvester. It’s a very simple operation.

We generally use this machine when weeds are just starting to germinate. That’s the best time to go in with that slight disruption of the ground. The small weeds just die instantly. If you do get behind however and weeds start to germinate and they get even up to six; we’ve even used this up to twelve inches in height. Because the round disks are there you get no clog up like you normally get on all straight teeth. So it’s great if you get in early and you happen to not get in early it’ll still do a great job. The only difference is you’d have to do weeds six to twelve inches in height you’d have to do your rows about six times to get a complete clean area whereas if you get in at the right time usually twice a year is about all that needs to be done. This particular field has been done twice.

What offers us also with this unit is we can put down fertilizer at the same time that we’re cultivating. So it works out that we’re getting a lot of things done with one pass.

This cultivation system also works great on crabgrass; it gets down below the root system, lifts it out and does kill it. The purslane also which generally is a problem weed for us, it does pull the weed out and if you do it on a hot enough day it generally will die before it has a chance to re-root itself in.

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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