Professional Training for Developing a Hands-On Organic Weed Management Learning Center for Commercial Market Gardens in Local Communities

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $89,492.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Beth LaShell
Fort Lewis College

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: potatoes, sunflower
  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals


  • Crop Production: cover crops, intercropping, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, mentoring, participatory research, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, community-supported agriculture, risk management
  • Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control, botanical pesticides, cultural control, flame, mulches - killed, mulches - living, physical control, mulching - plastic, cultivation, row covers (for pests), soil solarization, mulching - vegetative, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, permaculture
  • Soil Management: green manures, soil analysis, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, urban/rural integration, community services, sustainability measures


    The Organic Weed Management Learning Center has been very successful at providing educational opportunities for local professionals, students and community members. We hosted a large organic weed management symposium in February, an initial workshop in April and twelve hands-on workshops during the summer at our research market garden. The market garden demonstrated 14 different organic weed management techniques and offered workshop participants a chance to view ongoing results and learn more about methodology, soil and sustainability analysis, weed control efficacy and market garden production. A blog chronicling the different activities was maintained and a website was established.

    Project objectives:

    For 2008-2009, the following activities were listed in the original proposal:

    Host Organic Weed Management Strategies Symposium
    Gather information on current producer practices and agricultural professional knowledge
    Hire hourly students
    Complete appropriate soil preparation and tests
    Meet with regional Extension Agents to identify potential participants
    Publicize establishment of Learning Center and host initial workshop
    Create website, listserv and blog for Learning Center participants.
    Schedule multiple workshops on methodology, soil and sustainability analysis, efficacy and production, and managing web-based information.
    Create Learning Center plots for mulching, mechanical control, intercropping, solarization and organic herbicides.
    Create training documents for each Learning Center workshop. Distribute and make available on website.
    Collect appropriate data to document efficacy, sustainability and production differences.
    Assess efficacy of organic weed management strategies
    Continually update participants through website, listserv and blog
    Conduct workshop on identifying and establishing on-farm demonstration sites

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.