Category — Tractor Implements
March 17, 2009 3 Comments
Once you reach about 9 acres or so I feel a mechanical transplanter can start to pay for itself. We currently only grow 6 ourselves but I can see how it can become a necessary tool quickly. I like the style of these transplanters, plus you can get a packing-sled instead of packing wheels allowing to fit 3 transplanters in a 48″ bed.
March 17, 2009 No Comments
So I’m very pro-worker in the world of farming. But if there continues to be a shortage of young farmers, then I suspect that those of us that have chosen to farm should probably be as efficient as we can. Maybe with some automation, instead of having 10 people on 1 farm of 15 acres, there could be 2 people on 5 farms of 10 acres. I’d be interested in costing the infrastructure costs out and see what it’s feasibility actually would be…..
Here’s why I write about this.
And the company who makes these transplanters has several other videos of their innovative products. I was stuck on their site for quite awhile watching videos…..
March 13, 2009 No Comments
Watching and reading about people that are growing on a scale much larger than yourself can be highly beneficial. It’s really easy to take ideas from a grander scale and adapt them to your own scale. I’ve been watching videos from a grower in Australia that goes by “bestleeks” Their farm is Peter Schreurs and Sons in Victoria Australia.
I love all of their innovative equipment. Much of which I think is built in house. But my favorite is the planting hole puncher for leeks. It reminds me of the Imperial Walkers in Star Wars
March 6, 2009 No Comments
Since my friend Josh at Slowhand Farm turned me on to Eatwell Farm out of Dixon California, I’ve been thoroughly intrigued by all the great systems approaches that Nigel has towards vegetable farming. He finds innovative tools to accomplish his tasks but always in a way that has his workers best interests in mind.
Here are two videos that illustrate a couple of their awesome cultivating tools
March 6, 2009 No Comments
I’ve had several people ask what my secret was to hilling potatoes. Secret? No secret, just two disk hillers mounted on a tool bar and drive really fast. We hill our potatoes 3 times before they get too big to drive over the beds with our tractor. We could get one more pass if we had a high clearance tractor but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. It’s been great having the big disks to hill with. I purchased them from the folks at Market Farm in Pennsylvania. They’re basically one of the few full service implement dealers for small veggie equipment in the US. There’s a few others around but they seem to have the widest array of tools.
July 31, 2008 No Comments
We bought a new rototiller this spring to run behind the higher horsepower Landini tractor. We bought a 64″ model that would till the wheel tracks as I was making beds. This would help reduce the weed pressure that always happens in the wheel tracks. (Before I just used a 4 foot model that would till the 4 foot bed but left the wheel tracks to grow weeds like crazy. We would then have to come back continuously with the walk behind BCS tiller- A real time killing project) I decided to try a row marking system that mounted right on the flap of the tiller, allowing the wheels to float with the terrain. Also because the wheel tracks are being tilled- the tire tread tracks being what I used to line up for the next beds- I added two extra marking wheels on the outside to mark the edge of the bed. All in all it works pretty well. There was some bending and adjusting of the marking wheel mounts to get the angle with the ground just right, but other than that it’s worked pretty well. Let me know if you have any comments or additions to this creation.
July 31, 2008 1 Comment
When we started to tractor cultivate with the Electric G, we needed to make sure that the spacing between rows was very precise and consistent. Many larger farms use transplanters or vacuum seeders to set the spacing between rows. We transplant by hand and direct seed by a hand-push seeder. The solution I came up with is a simple tool bar mounted on the back of the tiller with bars made from 5/8″ flat stock with lawn mower wheels mounted at the base. I had originally thought that disc openers (like what one sees on a seed drill) would work, but I couldn’t find any used ones and I think the lawn mower wheels work better anyway. They actually firm up the soil within the row to be planted and seem to preserve some moisture this way. Best of all, this system of mounting to the tiller saves me another pass, another implement switch, as well as some fuel. Check out the video and feel free to email me with any questions.
March 18, 2008 3 Comments
About 2 seasons ago we invested in a cultivating tractor. We had been doing all of our weeding by hand, but we started to get behind a lot of the time, and were looking to expand our growing space. We knew that there were a lot of options out there- Farmall made some good ol’ cultivating tractors as well as Allis Chalmers. (There are many others too, but these two seem to be the most readily available these days) One thing we knew about cultivating tractors was they were generally gas powered as opposed to diesel. This equates to less power, the inability to run biodiesel, and just the same standard chugg-a-lug of old tractor motors.
During the investigation of what tractor to look for, I came across a great resource for converting an old Allis Chalmers G from gas to electric. That’s right- 48 volts DC!
So I started the hunt for an old AC G with no motor. Came across one outside of Corvallis, Oregon. Bought it for $800 and then spent another $2500 on the motor, batteries, and other parts for the conversion.
Over the next 2 months I stripped the tractor down to parts, refurbished anything that needed repaired, and then put it back together and added the electric components.
The next question was deciding what cultivating setup to use. I talked to several other farmers to see what they used and consulted the book “Steel in the Field” and came to the conclusion that a basket weeder was the way to go. The basket weeder works great in lighter soils- loams, sand, silt- but does have some limitations in heavier rocky soils. The basket weeder also works best when weeds are at the white hair stage. In other words when the weeds are still just emerging. If you have an established stand of grasses or other weeds then a tool bar with sweeps might be a better bet. (I’m setting such a tool bar up this season and will post about it once it’s finished.)
So check out the video of the basket weeder in action and listen to the quiet purrrrr of the electric motor. Another thing you might notice is the tank mounted on the back of the tractor’s battery box. This is used to spray fish fertilizer as I weed. It runs off it’s own separate 12 volt battery. This way I can cultivate and fertilize in one pass. Any other questions about the tractor and it’s conversion just email me.
February 22, 2008 6 Comments
Our friend Josh has worked at Sauvie Island Organics for several seasons, and is now branching out on his own to further his personal vegetable endeavors as well as help other farm folk out by doing some consulting. He has a really thorough outline on weed management that he’s gathered from working at SIO as well as info he’s gathered traveling to fellow organic farms. It’s really worth jumping over to his entry and studying what he presents. I always learn the best by looking at others work, strategies, ideas instead of trying to reinvent the wheel by myself sitting in my shop.
If you have any questions on the various implements he presents I’d just drop him an email. My experiences with Josh are always educational and intentional.
The farm community is just beginning to see the networking possibilities with the internet. I look forward to seeing this community grow.
February 2, 2008 2 Comments