Improving Weed Control on the Small Farm: Evaluation of Scale-Appropriate Cultivation Tools

2011 Annual Report for GNE10-004

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2010: $8,700.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Grant Recipient: University of Maine
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Eric Gallandt
University of Maine

Improving Weed Control on the Small Farm: Evaluation of Scale-Appropriate Cultivation Tools


This year the project, “Improving Weed Control on the Small Farm: Evaluation of Scale-Appropriate Cultivation Tools”, focused heavily on the collection of data for the qualitative portion of the study. Surveys were conducted at seven events within the Maine Organic Farmer and Gardener’s Association (MOFGA) and the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension farms. These events allowed researchers to both collect information on cultivation strategies, and also to demonstrate, and provide the opportunity to trial, a wide variety of hand cultivation tools to the small-scale growing community in Maine.

Objectives/Performance Targets

• Two seasons of quantitative data have been collected to evaluate the performance of tools being studied based on efficacy and working rate, as well as variability due to environmental conditions.
• One season of qualitative data has been collected to evaluate user desirability of tools being studied based on user experience, and ratings of tool comfort and perceived effectiveness following an in-field trial.
• Qualitative surveys also provide the opportunity for participant comments, which provide insight into growers’ tool selection process.


• Conducted four in-field trials to collect data on the effectiveness and working rate of tools and the environmental conditions that contribute to, or detract from, cultivation success.
• Traveled to seven events within the small-scale vegetable growing community to provide the opportunity for tools to be trialed, and to collect qualitative data on user perceptions.
• Filmed a video at MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, ME explaining the project and interviewing participants.
• Presented the ideas of the project and trialed tools during two University of Maine undergraduate courses, Organic Fruit and Vegetable Production and Weed Ecology.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

• Traveling to events within the small-scale vegetable growing community of Maine provided information on weed management and cultivation to growers at various stages of business development. The diversity of tools being evaluated by the project was an opportunity to those with limited financial means to test a broad range of tools from around the world before investing in one.
• The project has collaborated with regional tool manufacturers Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Hooke’n Crooke Hoes, and Miracle Finger Hoes to include additional tools in the study.
• When media production and data analysis are complete, both will be made available to the community through publication on the University of Maine’s Weed Ecology Group website, as well as on our research blog and YouTube channel. These online outlets have been promoted to growers during the project as a resource to those not inclined toward academic literature.


Mark Guzzi

[email protected]
25 Peacemeal Ln.
Dixmont, ME 04932
Office Phone: 2072574103
Mark Hutton

[email protected]
52 U.S. Route 202
Monmouth, ME 04259