Miscellaneous Production Techniques

Moving Transplant Flats

Transplants often need to be transported from the greenhouse to the field, and moving mass quantities can be difficult. We used wood planks across the back of our pick-up truck and a metal grate to carry two layers of transplants. They were covered with row cover to keep them from dessicating during travel. When we got to the field, we placed the flats on a ladder and could use that to carry multiple flats far into the field where we could not drive. Alternatively, a simple stretcher made with firring strips makes a good 2-person flat carrier.

Double decker transplant moving system
Moving flats in the field on a ladder

Weeding with a Stirrup Hoe

One of our very favorite tools for weeding is the stirrup hoe (also called the hula hoe). It slices easily through the soil, destroying young weeds without moving a lot of soil, and thus moving fewer weed seeds to the surface.

Salad Mix HarvesterAnother tool that has made our lives at the farm exponentially easier is the salad mix harvester. The long blade makes quick work of harvesting salad mix which falls into the “basket” behind it. It cut our harvest time by at least 1/3 when compared with clipping by hand. When using a harvester like this, keep the blade sharp and be sure to remove any drip tape before you cut! One source for this tool is Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Pottiputki Transplanting Tool

The “pottiputki” is actually a tool used for transplanting tree seedlings but we found it to be very useful for planting large seed and vegetable seedlings. The duck-billed bottom of the tool opens up the soil with a foot lever and plants can be slid down the tube into the hole. We would usually have a person following that could tamp down the soil around it, but it still saved a great amount of time in transplanting. It also works really well for planting seeds or transplants into plastic mulch. Sources for this tool can be found on the internet if you search under “pottiputki”.

 

Stirrup hoe
Makes weeding easier
“Saw” along the base of the plants
Salad greens fall into the “basket” behind the blade
Watch out for drip tape!
Jeff Pieper tearing it up with the pottiputki!
The pottiputki in action
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