A common question we get is about the methods and tools we use to grow our veggies. I thought you might be interested to hear the answers:
Our small Jinma tractor is used for lifting and pulling only – thats all.
We have adopted the methods made popular by:
- Elliot Coleman http://fourseasonfarm.com/
- John Jeavons http://www.growbiointensive.org/ and
- JM Fortier http://www.themarketgardener.com/
You can read more about our method at our permagrow page
Breaking new ground
We use our new walk-behind Rapid MONDO with the following attachments:
- Rotary hoe for breaking new ground
- Flail mower for removing old crops
- Power harrow for creating the perfect tilth to sow and transplant into
We use our Mantis Tiller to weed and mound the beds.
We then double dig and add amendments – biochar and compost. Maybe lime if we have time before the first planting.
Turning over a bed
Depending on the crop we are removing we have a number of options:
- Usually we will flail mow using the Mondo and sometimes turn it in with a very shallow rotary hoe
- If it is weedy then we will use the rotary harrow to rip out the weeds – we’ll run it in reverse so the weeds remain on the surface as otherwise they are buried by the roller. We’ll then rake them out with a long tine rake.
- Otherwise we will either cut it by hand, use a mechanical Stihl hedge-clipper , or simply the lawnmower set to cut low
- We might follow this with the smaller Mantis tiller to shape the paths between the beds.
We may then broadfork the bed and add amendments e.g. organic guano from Viafos, and/or our own compost.
Finally we will either sow our next crop or cover it with silage tarp and wait a bit.
Before we sow we will may the flame weeder to further reduce weed pressure
To prepare the bed we will use a rake. Then we may flame weed to minimise weed pressure.
We find a gauging trowel to be more ergonomic than the standard trowel for transplanting.
If the seedlings are big enough then we will use our Hatfield transplanter. We plant in rows with each row offset, the minimum width between the rows is the size of our smallest hoe (10cm).
We will typically use the Earthway seeder with Elliot Colemans hack or a Jang seeder.
Crops that are direct sown are watered and covered by 80% shade cloth until they germinate, or with bird netting. If we need hoops we use rebar inside alkathene (insert rebar first and then bend!)
Timers by Hozelock and irrigation tape called Sumi soakers
We use antique Planet Juniors (forerunner of Hoss wheel hoe) for aisle and row weeding and a niwashi for precision weeding, a digidigi for harvesting and thistles, A stirrup hoe for quick weeding, and some homemade hoes. For inter row weeding we use a Ploskořezy
Thats about it, not saying these will work for you, but they work for us. Hope this helps.
We strive to use tools that are fast and effective. This allows us fill in the time between tasks that would otherwise be wasted.