Thursday, November 12, 2009

2010 Organic Weed Management Workshop
February 23, 2010
Farmington, NM

Watch for Registration Details

Sunday, October 4, 2009

OWM Learning Center - Backyard Gardener Tour on October 7

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
5:30 – 8 pm

5:30: Walking tour of Small acreage demonstrations
- greenhouse, raised beds and hoophouses/high tunnels

Organic Weed Management hand tool demonstrations
Organic Weed Management barrier discussions

6:30 -8:00: Dinner and discussion of OWM results

Directions from Durango: Take Hwy 160 West out of Durango for approximately 13 miles. Turn left (South) on Hwy 140 in Hesperus. Go approximately 5 miles and turn right (West) into the San Juan Basin Research Center.

If you come up Wildcat (Hwy 141)., turn right on Hwy 140 at the stop sign and we located approximately 3 miles from the turn on the left.

Allow 25 minutes driving time from town.

We will meet in the “Old Fort” library prior to beginning our walking tour.

Please wear appropriate shoes as we will be walking in garden spaces.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shredded Paper

Shredded Paper Facts

Obtained shredded paper from local banks and shredded office documents
Used cardboard to "contain" paper while laying it on soil
Created 3 layers using water to mat the paper

Shredded Paper Observations

Weeds were definitely suppressed
However, transplants did not grow or produce
Seeds germinated very slowly but did not grow
Plant samples were sent to Servi-Tech labs to be analyzed for N (results indicated less than 3% N)

July 10, 2009 No plant growth

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Horticultural Vinegar

Horticultural Vinegar Facts
1 gallon; $26.00
20% Acetic Acid (household is typically 5%)
Can be diluted to 10% and still be effective
Spray directly on dry leaves
Most effective on warm, sunny days
Contains Yucca extract to increase effectiveness
High acidity (over 11%) can cause skin burns and eye damage

Horticultural Vinegar Observations

Most effective on smaller weeds

July, 2009


Flaming Facts
Tractor mounted or handheld units available
Propane fueled
Pass heat quickly over small weeds
Water in cells boils and bursts the cells

Flaming Observations
Generally does not kill grasses
Certain vegetables will not tolerate heat
Works best if weeds are small
Larger weeds are more difficult to kill with flaming

Planters Paper

Planters Paper Facts
2’ x 200’ package $29.99
$ .15 per square foot
Getting more difficult to find
Biodegradable, mulching paper is designed to be used for one growing season
When the edges are secured, the crepe in the thin paper allows it to hug the soil and to efficiently pass on the heat it absorbs.
Porous to water, it effectively suppresses weeds and keeps vegetables from contact with the soil, reducing spoilage
Made from recycled paper containing a resin binder and an anti-microbial to stop decomposition at the paper/soil interface.

Planters Paper Observations
Edges must be secured.
Installation can be difficult.
Two feet wide barrier may not too narrow for market gardens.
Excessive moisture can accelerate decomposition

NRCS Weed Barrier

NRCS Weed Barrier Facts
Available from local NRCS offices
6’ x 300’ ($115.50) or 4’ x 300’ ($76.75)
$.06 per square foot
Keeps the UV rays out
Resistant tearing, puncturing and weed penetration
Long lasting and reusable
09 will be third year for some pieces

NRCS Observations
Surface gets very hot during peak of summer
6' may be too wide for market garden situations

Sunbelt Weed Fabric

Sunbelt Facts:
3' by 50'

3.2 oz/yard high-grade fabric blocks 99.7% of light Resistant tearing, puncturing and weed penetration
Approved for most government weed control applications
Typically lasts 8-12 years, according to the manufacturer who guarantees the product for 5 years against UV breakdown

Sunbelt Observations
Can be reused in market garden
Surface gets very hot during peak of summer

3' may not be wide enough for market gardens
Cost: $.08-.17 per square foot

Monday, August 3, 2009

Learning Center Workshops on 8/13/09

The Organic Weed Management Learning Center at the San Juan Basin Research Center will be hosting a set of workshops on Thursday, August 13th from 4-7:30 pm. They will include a Soil Analyses workshop by Dr. Phil Shuler beginning at 4 pm followed by an update on the techniques and data collection from this summer and then an introduction to the web-based resources available for participants during dinner. We have 14 different types of Organic Weed Management for Market Gardens being studied this summer. We’ll also take a look at our variety trials for potatoes, sunflowers, tomatoes and peppers.

Please RSVP to Beth LaShell

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Corn Gluten Meal

Picture taken on July 7, 2009. Corn Gluten Meal (CGM) was applied at a rate of 1500 lb/acre on June 9th

Corn Gluten Meal Facts:
By-product of corn milling process
Pre-emergent herbicide that is effective in stopping or inhibiting root formation
Contains 10% Nitrogen
Must be applied after seeds have germinated or use transplants

Corn Gluten Meal Observations
Extensive moisture can reduce effectiveness
Organic CGM not available
Has become very expensive in the past couple of years
Beware of corn gluten feed versus corn gluten meal. Feed will not work.

Corn Gluten Meal Research Page:

Black Plastic

These pictures were taken on June 9th and July 7, 2009

Black Plastic Facts:
3’ x 50’roll - $7.44 ($.05 per square foot )
4 mil plastic
Not biodegradable
Puncture resistant
Available at most local stores

Black Plastic Observations:
Was not affected by rains in June.
Can use garden staples to secure edges
Seedlings emerged very quickly

OWM - Garden Bio-film

These pictures were taken on July 7 and June 9th, 2009

Bio-film Facts:
•5 x 30 ft roll $16.95 ( $.04 per square foot )
•100% biodegradable and compostable mulching film that is made from cornstarch and other renewable resources
•Begins to decompose in 50-60 days, biodegrading 95% after about 90 days depending on environmental conditions. It can be tilled into the soil at any time during the season

Bio-film Observations:
- Can be difficult to lay because it tears easily. Must secure edges with dirt because garden staples tear fabric.
- Wind can increase size of planting slits.
- Only 3 feet wide so once buried, only get about 2 feet of coverage

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mini-Workshops very successful

The five mini-workshops held on June 4th and June 19th were very well attended. Participants enjoyed the hand on activities and the ability to interact with the instructors as well as other participants

Friday, June 12, 2009

OWM Mini Workshops on June 19th

The San Juan Basin Research Center will be hosting another set of Organic Weed Management Workshops on Friday, June 19th from 8 am until 1 pm.

Soil Analysis with Dr. Phil Shuler from 8-10 am
Methodology- OWM Technique demonstrations:from 10-11:30
Measuring efficacy of weed control methods- 11:30-12:30

Email me at or leave a message at 385-4574 to sign up for one or all of the workshops.

The research market garden has 14 different organic weed management techniques. We applied Corn Gluten Meal this week and made a pass with the Glaser Wheel Hoe. We'll be doing flaming and horticultural vinegar applications next week.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Seedlings coming up

On May 26th, Fort Lewis College Agriculture students finished planting all 14 of the OWM plots. Four replicates of beans, beets, corn, broccoli and cabbage were planted in each 80 foot row using 4' centers. On June 3rd the first seedlings began to emerge.

Friday, May 29, 2009

OWM Plots Established and Planted

Fourteen different market garden plots were established in the last two weeks at the San Juan Basin Research Center. Organic Weed Management techniques include biofilm, black plastic, corn gluten meal, flaming, horticultural vinegar, glasier wheel hoe, ecover, planters paper, shredded paper mulch, reusable weed barriers, weed mat, garden mat and a control.

Within each plots, beans, beets, corn, broccoli and cabbage were planted in four replications.

OWM Mini Workshops on June 4

The San Juan Basin Research Center organic weed management learning center will be hosting two mini workshops on Thursday, June 4th. A Soil Analyses workshop will be held from 8 to 10 am followed by an Organic Weed Management Methodology workshop from 10-12.
Soil analyses hands on topics will include taking soil samples, using a pentrometer (measures soil compaction), infiltrometer (measures water percolation) and soil pH.
Methodology topics will include working with different options for market gardens including barrier methods (black plastic, biodegradable options, weed barriers, mechanic al tools) and alternative treatments (corn gluten meal, flaming, horticultural vinegar).
To register for these seminars, send an email to or leave a message at 970-385-4574. You may register for one or both workshops. We will be offering these workshops again in June.
Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing to be outside during these hands-on activities. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Plants are coming up

Garlic, Onions, Bulbs, and Sunchokes are up this Spring. We also have spinach coming up in the hoophouse.

OWM Learning Center Initial Workshop

The date for the OWM Learning Center Intitial Workshop has been set for Tuesday, April 28th from 8:30 to 2:30 at the San Juan Basin Research Center. Look on for a brochure.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

OWM Symposium Presentation Material

The presentations from the Organic Weed Management Symposium will be available in .pdf format on the website at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Web Page

While the blog posts the most up to date information, additional resource information is available on our website at:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Organic Weed Management Symposium

The first annual Organic Weed Management Sympousium will be held at the LaPlata County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, February 25, 2009.
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