I’ve been growing cut flowers, sweet corn, ornamental
corn and pumpkins for several years. I’m starting to
add more vegetables and herbs to the rotation. The transplanting
and pumpkins are done by hand and the direct seeding is with
an Earth-Way push seeder. The weed control is with a tiller,
hands and hoes.
Well, the good news is that marketing has caught up with
and surpassed production. The bad is that weed control is
falling way behind. So now I’m trying to decide on equipment
that will increase efficiency and hopefully do a better job.
Not being experienced with these tools or knowing any vegetable
farmers that don’t use herbicides, I’m writing
I have a 56-HP, four-wheel drive tractor with 42 inches between
the tires. I use a three-bottom, 14-inch plow and a 6-foot
tiller for ground preparation and cover crop incorporation.
(Eventually I want a small chisel plow). After looking at
a Market Farm Implement catalogue, I think I’ve come
up with a wish list that will work and I can afford.
I was thinking of getting a raised-bed plastic mulch layer
for use in transplanting and a Williams tool system to cultivate
on non-mulched raised beds. I was also looking at the three-row
Jang Automation Clean Seeder (Mechanical Transplanter Co.)
on a three-point toolbar, and a fertilizer attachment that
could hopefully go on the mulch layer or cultivator. I plan
to use guide cones with both the seeder and cultivator.
Does this seem like a system that will work together, or
do you foresee any problems? Are there other seeders out there
that are reasonably precise but don’t cost an arm and
leg? I’m hoping to shift the problems back from growing
and cultivating to harvest and marketing, as it was before.
If you can recommend a better system, or individual tools,
that would be great, too.
Thanks for the letter and for reading New Farm. I can see
that you've really done your homework here. Market Farm Implement
is a reputable company and the owners have a wealth of hands-on
knowledge with the tools and equipment they sell. I'm sure
they can answer your specific question on the compatibility
of the tools you have selected.
I use a William Tool Bar system here at Rodale and I find
that it works well in our soils and crops. We also use a two-row
conventional cultivator that fits onto the three-point hitch.
I think the plan you have laid out is a solid one based on
reasonable expenditures for flexible and high-quality equipment.
If you plan on using drip tape, get the attachment for the
These tools will certainly allow you to speed up your plant
and weed management, and they should give you the control
and flexibility you need for various crops and alleviate some
of that hand work. You'll never get rid of it all, but hey—that's
Good luck and stay in touch with how things work out.