Local Roots Farm in Washington State has come up with a design for a bed shaper attachment for their rototiller, to allow one-pass bed making on their vegetable farm.
As of their blog post on the tool, they hadn’t yet tried it out in the field. But it sure looks like they’re on to something.
Check out their tool– we hope they will put up drawings and reports on the Farm Hack Tools Wiki!
Summary: The Allis Chalmers G tractor was built in the late 1940′s to be a cultivating tractor, using a relatively low horespower gasoline engine that is bolted to the back of the tractor’s frame to allow the operator a clear view of the implements mounted on the belly of the tractor. It’s a great tractor for cultivating, but over time the engines can fall further and further out of good repair.
Farmer (and inventor!) Ron Khosla came up with instructions to convert these tractors to run on an electric motor and heavy duty batteries, giving you a fully functional, easy-to-maintain, quiet, no-emissions tractor. These electric G’s work great for cultivating, seeding, and some tinkerers have even rigged them up to do tillage and mowing.
Skills needed: Simple metalworking (welding steel, or finding someone who can); also available commercially with an Allis G belly mount from Roeter’s Farm Equipment, but their version may not be optimized for your application.
Summary: Tine weeders, like those built by Lely or Kovar, are often used on vegetable farms for cultivation of transplanted crops or sturdy direct seeded crops like corn and beans. Usually they are used “blind” (see video), raked over a crop while being pulled behind a tractor, and therefore their use is limited to those crops that can tolerate the “raking” action of the thin, flexible tines, spaced 1.5″ apart.
This project creates a version of the tine weeder that can be belly-mounted to a cultivating tractor, so that individual tines can be lifted up so as not to engage the soil. This allows the tool to be used in between rows of crops that cannot stand the raking, such as just-germinated small seeded crops like carrots, beets and greens.
This is a good tool for a smaller farm that cannot afford many different types of cultivators; it can be used for many different crops, however by itself it is not an ideal cultivator for all crops, since it is not aggressive enough to kill more tenuous weeds such as perennial grasses, velvetleaf, bindweed, or weeds that have established beyond a “white thread” stage. Horsepower requirements are very low.