There is significant interest from processors in producing organic sweet corn and snap bean. However, large-scale production is necessary for this to be a practical and economical venture for processors. This study focused on the feasibility of managing weeds in organic sweet corn and snap bean, utilizing methods that are practical in large hectarage. Tactics such as rotary hoe, interrow cultivation, and a stale seedbed were evaluated alone or in combination. Hand-weeded and herbicide-based treatments were included for each crop for comparison. Percentage weed control, weed biomass, and crop yield were quantified, and net profit was calculated for each treatment. Organic weed management was feasible in snap bean, with yields similar among several of the organic treatments and the herbicide treatment in all 3 yr of the study. Interrow cultivation was the most effective means of organic weed control in snap bean. Organic weed management was possible in snap bean because it is a short-season crop and an effective competitor with weeds in the crop row. Organic weed management was more difficult in sweet corn because of the longer crop season and poor competition with weeds in the crop row. In sweet corn, the organic treatment involving three interrow cultivations was the only one consistently similar in yield to the herbicide treatments. Higher net profits were attained for most of the organic treatments in both crops because of the organic premium. Market saturation and organic premium adjustments are factors for grower consideration in this potential industry, particularly for sweet corn production.
Nomenclature: Snap bean, Phaseolus vulgaris L.; sweet corn, Zea mays L.