2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Flame Weeding Catching On For Many Crops
Through his website, waycooltools.com, House sells a variety of flame weeding kits and accessories, typically for gardens and lawns. Through another website, earthandskysolutions.com, House sells larger vegetable bed flamers that can be used on farm fields.
House and his wife Janet began manufacturing and selling hand torches in 2007. A year later they jumped into products for agribusiness. The walk-behind flamer is one of House’s most popular products. It uses a barbecue grill tank with propane vapor, similar to his hand torches.
“This unit will flame a 30-in. wide path so you can flame a vegetable bed or driveway,” House says. “You can also use it on any kind of wide area in one pass because it’s easy to push.”
His design for the walk-behind flamer came from a conversation he had with a garden writer, who wanted to flame an entire vegetable bed with one pass. Working with an engineer from Flame Engineering in La Crosse, Kan., House built a few prototypes. In 2011, his vision became reality when the GF-2011 multipurpose garden flamer was introduced.
“You can put on a wide axle and it’ll straddle a 30-in. wide bed and you just walk next to the bed behind it,” House says. “The handle is off to one side, it adjusts to either the right or left, or you can set the handle right behind it. You can use half the axle width and just walk behind it with half the axle,” House says.
The GF-2011, called the Red Dragon, is priced at $1,195 on waycooltools.com. House says “you can use this model for driveways, pathways, baseball fields, etc.”
With these devices gardeners can get close to vegetable plants for weeding without harming them. House says “you can flame underneath the leaf canopy of tomatoes, cabbage, kale and other vegetables to kill weeds and weed seeds.”
The Weed Dragon, which includes a lightweight backpack, a 10-lb. propane cylinder and 100,000-400,000-BTU torch, sells for $230.
Smaller handheld torches, such as the Flame Weeding 25,000 BTU Mini Dragon, sell for about $50. Gardeners can also purchase accessories and build their own flame kit.
When it’s used in gardens, flame weeding eliminates hand-weeding, hoeing, or killing weeds with herbicides. The flame process also eliminates using a tractor in the garden, which can damage plants.
For large fields, the Red Dragon Vegetable Bed Flamer can be used on most crops prior to planting to sterilize the seedbed. Flames are produced by clean and efficient liquid propane. The flamer is available in 2, 4, 6 and 8-row models.
“In agriculture, flame weeding in many cases is going to be cheaper than using chemicals,” House says. “It’s an important tool for organic growers, but even conventional growers trying to do non-GMO are going to save money.”
House says the best time to start flaming is when weeds are small, when you have to get on your knees to see them in the crop row. Customers who’ve used House’s weeders tell him they’ve seen less weed pressure in their fields since they started flaming. “Nothing is going to stand up to heat,” House says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Charles House, Earth & Sky, Inc., P.O. Box 235, White Hall, Va. 22987 (ph 434 823-4600 or 877 353-7783; www.waycooltools.com and www.earthandskysolutions.com).
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