Economical sustainable weed control options for small farms with alkaline soil.

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $4,947.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
David Jensen
Farm in the Dell of the Red River Valley


  • Vegetables: beans, carrots, eggplant, greens (lettuces), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Production Systems: dryland farming
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    In this area, sustainable weed control for vegetables is a very labor intensive practice. Those who garden sustainably often invest in matting, mulching, or inefficient methods of manually weeding or over-tilling their soil. In this project our farm, with the support and advice of Hildbrandt Farms and Lynn Brakke Farms, will compare and contrast Farm Hack’s Culticycle with the Tilmore finger weeder as options for sustainable weed control in the heavy alkaline soil of the Red River Valley. We will also be working with Randy Nelson as an educational resource as well as the Clay County Extension Master Gardener's group. In addition to studying the two small farmer weed control options, we will also study the use of activated calcium to help with loosening the soil and preventing weed problems like the Canadian thistle, studying the effects over two growing seasons. We plan to share our results through social media, through the many groups that tour our non-profit farm, and by hosting a field day for local farmers. Finding an economical and efficient method for weed control would help farmers learn how to grow vegetables sustainably and profitably and encourage the use of weeding methods that maintain soil health. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Determine an economical and efficient means of weed control in alkaline soil by comparing and improving options. 
    2. Broadening understanding of sustainable weed control options through farm-tours and on-farm testing.
    3. Sharing project results by means of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), farm tours, and a field day.
    4. Developing videos to show the results on our website, youtube, and social media. 
    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.