Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tool Time

You all Know about tools and guys right. What is it? Why do we lust over them so. I for one am always on the lookout for tools. Mostly tractor implement stuff for me these days; especially if its old and usable and will work on one of my vintage tractor set ups. Don't get me wrong, I like shiny new tools as well. Yesteday I finally got around to ordering a new seed. I fiigured it was time to step up to the plate and stop using the ol stanby $100.00 twenty year old earthway and get myself a single row Jang ap-1 preciscion, hand push seeder. I'mpretty stoked about it. The whole reason you by a tool is to make your job easier and more efficient right? Well if the Jang works like most people say it does we will all but eliminate hand thinning because this is a preciscion seeder and that means as opposed to just laying down a trail of seed as the earthway does, the Jang places the seed at the interval you dial it into. This will be especially helpful with crops like beets, carrots and onions where in the past we had lost sowings or dimminished yields just because we could'nt get to the thinning in a timely manner. (the truth hurts but sometimes it happens) Anyway, It's a trick looking tool I hope it works. If so, I'll be seriously looking at the tractor mount units they offer. Very reasonable compared to the other seeders available. So for about $700.00 to my door I will have a tool that should pay for itself in increased yields and lower labor input not to mention they are much more economical on seed usage. Now that works in my world.

There are other tools I could use, It's on a wait and see basis. Money is tight right now. Sure would be nice to have a fertizer spreader. It could also double as a cover crop seeder. (I prefer multi-tasking devices.) Still looking at a disc and generally can't believe I don't own one. I use my big roto-tiller in lieu of and it has worked well for all of these years. Having a disc would perhaps be a little faster but more importantly just another arrow in my quiver for having the right tool for the right task at the right time. Another smaller 4ft tiller would be nice, I have my eye on a used one in good shape. Oh and don't forget the combine!

Trying a new recipe for seedling mix these days to and so far I'm liking it. Basically I make my own mix as opposed to buying it bagged from an off island source. It saves money that I can apply to additional soil ammendment. Its a mix of rotted/composted cow manure with some hay residue, leaf mold and course building sand for drainage and texture. I throw in a couple of scoops of 4.4.4. for every 8 cubic feet. I mix this all up and run it through a 1/4" screen. I normally have used peat moss in the past. I'm trying it without this year for a few reasons. It's expensive, a non island source, it's acidic, it's hard to wet and it dries out fast in the shallow cell trays. Some people like to use perlite. I have in the past, it's OK I don't like working with it. You are supposed to wear a mask when you use it to avoid inhaling it. I think the sand is a reasonable substitute. It works fairly well. Your first question is what about weeds? There are a few but generally it's not a problem. To me the cost savings is worth it. We use tons of seedling mix and potting soil and I can use it freely and copiously this way without feeling funny about seeing four dollars fly by everytime I open a new bag. Plus I don't have to make an all day trip to Tacoma to get the stuff. Again, it works for me.

Time is sneaking up us. Just eight weeks till the first farmers market. Holy moly!

Take care,



B Wolf said...

That tool fetish you mentioned- not exclusive to guys. I will actually droll a little when I go into Smith and Speed, its embarrassing.
The day I can afford my very first spading fork (which will be soon I hope!) will be a momentous day. I'm getting tantalized shivers just thinking about it!
oh, hand tools...
mmm, carving axe...bow rake...gouge chisel... ahhhh, hoooooe.

Chris said...

Hey John,

We bought a Jang Seeder this year too. We're going to be comparing notes with other folks who bought it as far as settings for specific crops and what works and doesn't work. Let's keep in touch on this and share some info.

The season is crankin already.....

Mike said...

I'm considering buying this seeder for the 2010 season. Would be curious to hear your experience with it this past year.

Felcy said...

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