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Labor-Saving Machines For Raised Bed Growers
“We build 2 machines that take the backbreaking work out of laying and removing plastic on raised bed gardens,” says John Miller of E-Z Trail Manufacturing in Ohio. “Both of these machines can be used behind a horse-drawn forecart or mounted on a Cat. I 3-pt. hitch,” Miller says. “They just make vegetable farming so much easier.”
    The Hogback Mulch Layer machine first builds a raised bed that’s 2 to 6 in. high. In the same pass it dispenses fertilizer, lays down drip irrigation lines, and then rolls out a continuous strip of mulch plastic. Two discs on the rear of the machine cover the edges of the plastic with dirt to hold it in place.
    E-Z Trail also builds a mulch pickup reel that lifts and rolls plastic from raised beds when the growing season is done. That machine is built on a smaller frame and has a ground driven pickup reel that rolls up about 500 ft. of plastic at a time. Miller says it has discs that cut debris alongside the mulch and lifts the edges of the plastic so it’s cleaner as it wraps on the roll.
    The raised bed mulch laying machine is 6 ft. wide and 7 ft. long. It has a sturdy metal frame to support several tools. In the front, two 20-in. coulters and two 16-in. coulters create a berm as the machine moves through the field. Fertilizer is applied in front of the discs so it’s incorporated into the soil as the berm is built. A large roller then smooths and firms the soil, and then one or two drip irrigation lines are placed before the plastic mulch is laid in place. The roller holds a 4-ft. wide by 4,000-ft. long roll of plastic. Two 16-in. discs at the back roll a small amount of soil on the edges of the plastic to hold it in place.
    Miller says bed height can be changed by making simple adjusments to the front discs so they throw more dirt onto the berm. The rear discs are also adjustable. The mulch layer is priced at $2,589 and the plastic picker is $1,455. A spool to apply two or three double drip tubes is included. The pull-type model has a gooseneck hitch so the operator can made a 180 degree turn at the end of a field and work back in the row right next to the one just completed.
    The machine is available in pull-type and 3-pt. models that build a 3-ft. raised bed and use 4-ft. wide plastic to cover it. The pull-type model can be ordered with steel wheels or pneumatic tires. Miller recommends using a 35 to 45 hp. tractor that’s capable of lifting and carrying the 800-lb. mulch layer. Machines can also be special ordered at additional cost to handle 3 or 5-ft. plastic.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Miller, Hogback E-Z Trail, 9575 Salt Creek Rd., Fredericksburg, Ohio 44627 (ph 330 695-2315).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #3