In developing Zot, the portable tool that uses jets of hot water to get rid of stubborn weeds organically, Michael Peterson had to improve on an old idea by infusing it with modern technology as he shared in a recent interview.
He also shared that none of it would have been possible if it weren’t for his wife, Bonnie Bruce, who sparked the inspiration to create the safest, most reliable, and eco-friendly tool to kill weeds.
Bonnie, a Master Gardener with some formal horticultural training, says she’s first and foremost a “plant nerd.”
In a recent interview with Regaboost, she let us in on her passion for gardening and why maintaining an organic garden is something we should all be getting into.
Regaboost: We understand that you have a deep connection with gardening. Tell us a bit about your background.
Bonnie is the owner of Celilo Gardens and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
“My background is both commercial interior design and landscape design. I practiced Interiors for many years and about 10 years ago, I stepped over the threshold and launched a landscape design practice.”
While her practice focuses mainly on urban landscapes, she believes that smaller properties are every bit as challenging as large properties “because you have issues of privacy and multiple functions within a small footprint unlike larger lots where there room for all.”
R: What ignited your passion for gardening?
Bonnie Not only do I like the physical work and being outside but I love designing with plants and hardscape. Taking a piece of dirt and turning it into something beautiful and special is my zen. And I like watching a garden evolve all by itself and the serendipity of mistakes becoming art.
R: What makes a garden complete?
B: Attracting wildlife. Intentionally creating environments which bring birds, beneficial insects, pollinators and critters to a garden gives it life and a purpose.
R: Why do you think maintaining an organic garden is important?
We are all stewards of this earth and carefully and thoughtfully maintaining a landscape which does no harm is our duty. Organically maintained landscapes may seem like a small part but in the aggregate they represent a large contribution. When you garden organically you not only create a healthy place for you and your family but you contribute to the bigger whole.
R: Is it difficult to maintain one?
B: Nope but it does take thoughtful consideration. All you have to do is to consider the implications of your actions before you act and make conscious choices.”
R: What do you think are the most common problems that avid gardeners often face?
B: “Pests, plant diseases and weeds. But pests and plant diseases can be eliminated and they are gone. Weeds never sleep. Weeding is a job which is never done, kind of like cleaning the bathroom – once you finish that job it is time to begin again.”
R: It appears you are really not a fan of dealing with weeds.
B: I have always had big gardens which required ongoing maintenance. For years Michael would watch as I prepared to head out to the garden to weed, stealing myself for 4-5 hours of doing something I hated…weeding. He began to think “there must be a better way to do this?”. He began to look at how espresso makers worked and tinkered with that idea until it became the first prototype — an odd conglomeration of a water bottle, an expresso pump and heater attached to a board with bungee cords. And that was the genesis of the Zot.
R: What makes Zot special?
B: It is the only organic effective weed killing tool and it works on the simple tried and true idea of using hot water to kill. It can be scaled up or down for different markets. It can be a handheld model for residential use, a backpack model for light commercial use or mounted on a golf cart for large scale use in farms, vineyards, parks and the like. And it eliminates the need to use Roundup.
R: What do you think Zot’s impact would be in the gardening industry?
B: We think the Zot will be a game changer much in the same way the Weed Eater was. It is effective and it is the perfect, timely alternative to Roundup
R: What are the challenges of introducing Zot to the market that you have experienced so far?
B: Portability of the tool has always been an issue for me. And as the prototypes have evolved the Zot has become increasingly lighter, more ergonomic, and less tethered to a power source and to a water source.
R: Congratulations! Zot is looking pretty good at crowdfunding portal truCrowd right now, already exceeding its minimum investment goal.
B: To date the Zot has been 100% self-funded. Angels are interested in the Zot but not until we have a track record of some sales. We have approached several incubator organizations but have yet to find a good fit with any one. So we are turning to crowdfunding to find our investors.
With a minimum investment of just $100, investors can now take part in creating a cleaner, safer environment by offering a natural alternative to toxic pesticides.
Check out their offering page here to learn more about how Michael and Bonnie is intending to change gardening forever.