When we think about farming, most of us think about huge pieces of equipment and large rolling fields. Things are different on a small scale vegetable farm. We do use machinery, but it’s adapted to our size and needs.
This spring we purchased a BCS Tractor. It’s a European style tractor that has two wheels and a PTO that can interchange a tiller, root digger, and a rotary plow. Plus, many, many, many, more attachments. This allows us to use succession planting in a more efficient way because we are able to get our tractor in between beds that are already planted and growing. Here’s Jeremiah using the BCS with the tiller attachment to till his mom’s garden. Please ignore the coloring–I hit a weird filter on my camera.
Another way to prepare the soil for planting is to use a broadfork. Jeremiah is very good at this. He loves it…so much? The broadfork breaks up the soil without turning it to allow the roots of plants to grow deeper.
What about weeding? Oh, so many tools can be used! Our favorite is the Valley Oak Wheel Hoe which makes weeding so much easier! It has an eight inch blade that cuts the weeds just under the surface of the soil without disturbing everything else. We also have a claw attachment, a hiller, and a larger blade.
This year, we were able to find a Hoss Seeder that will attach to our wheel hoe and help us direct seed plants such as: spinach, lettuces, beets, radishes, turnips, and more. It’s pretty heavy duty and we think it will help us make fabulous straight lines and perfectly planted rows! Imagine this on our wheel hoe! We can’t wait to try it out!
Sometimes, the wheel hoe is just too big to get between plants–or usually, Kate has planted them too close, and we need to use a hand hoe to get between delicate plants, like kale and onions so we use a traditional hand hoe or a wire weeder and the list goes on!
For harvesting we use a variety of specialized cutting tools, bins, and carrying equipment. They’ll be more information on that as the season chugs along!
Wheel Hoe: http://planetwhizbang.blogspot.com/2010/03/blank-5.html
Hoss Seeder: http://www.easydigging.com/hoss-seeder-planter.html