Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Small Equipment for a small Farm

I think spring is finally here.  The barn dog is beginning to blow her coat and the fields, ours and those around us have begun filling with equipment on the move.

So what type of equipment does a small farm like ours use to plant an acre or two?  That's a question I get a lot through my work at Dakota College ECH.  At gardendwellers FARM we wondered the same thing when we first moved to this fabulous place in 2011.  We were unsure of what type of equipment to best manage all that we needed to do without spending thousands upon thousands of dollars for many different pieces of equipment.  We also didn't want to use our John Deere garden tractor and tiller for all of the weeding and maintenance required.  So we put the question out to our Facebook followers and we soon had the answer.

A Plotmaster.

Yes, folks, that's right...it's called a Plotmaster.

This handy little piece of machinery pulls behind our ATV and does many jobs - all at once or by themselves.  As you can see, it has two sets of disks, a drag, a roller, a seeder and we have another attachment that will plow when we need it.

We've used this wonderful contraption for two years and we love it.  By using the disks and drag we can keep our fields weed free and looking good with minimal effort and in a small amount of time.  The plow has helped to break into hard or cold ground and this weekend we used it for the first time to seed.

We grow sustainably.  That means we need to care for our soil in the best way possible.  For us, that means no chemical fertilizers so instead we use green manure and compost to ensure a healthy soil environment.  This year we have chosen to green manure winter wheat.  By planting winter wheat in the spring instead of the fall, the wheat will stay shorter and not head out.  We will let the wheat grow to a desired height then disk and drag it back into the soil where it will decompose that add tilth to the soil and a fertile place for worms to romp - if worms can romp.

The Plotmaster works well for seeding.
It has a seed hopper that fits most sizes of seed and works well with the wheat.

 It took a little bit of adjusting to get it worked out so the seed was laying down correctly and covering up abut very soon the Boy got it right and finished the seeding of our green manure in no time.

Then Barry went in with the John Deere and the tiller and made a great new spot for the chives.  

Together we replanted the chives that accidentally got dug up last fall and with the dividing we did on them we ended up with over a wheelbarrow of chive plants leftover!
Then it was time for a little fun break and a few kisses between the Boy and his favorite girl.