2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4, Page #03[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Tractor “Fleet” Eliminates Need To Change Implements
Clark is 83 years old. He and his wife love gardening and yard work. To save time and effort each tractor is fitted with a different 3-pt. implement. His daughter, Stephanie, recently sent FARM SHOW photos of the tractors and one of the implements - a home-built “packer-dibbler”.
“I came up with the idea because at my age I don’t want to spend a lot of time switching implements. I can get off one tractor and onto another one very quickly. It eliminates a lot of hassle,” says Clark.
Their 1/2-acre garden has 222-ft. long rows. “We grow everything imaginable but specialize in legumes like butter beans, peas, and snap beans,” says Clark. “We share most of the bounty of our harvest with friends, family and neighbors.”
The implements include a rotary mower, hipping ridger, 2-row subsoiler, 5-ft. rotary tiller, home-built roller-dibbler, finishing mower, 1-row planter, rotary cutter, 2-bottom moldboard plow, and a single shank subsoiler that converts to a 1-bottom “middle buster”.
The roller-dibbler measures 3 1/2 ft. wide and is used to make holes in the ground for transplanting bulbs and seedlings. Clark built it using the frame of a 3-pt. mounted, forklift-type material carrier. A clod rake equipped with rake tines on front moves clods off to the sides of the rows. The tines, which are made from 1/2-in. rebar and spaced 8 in. apart, are vertically adjustable.
Behind the clod rake is a roller made from 12-in. dia., thick-walled pipeline pipe. It’s closed up on both ends and perfectly balanced. Clark uses a 1/2-in. flush-mount allen plug at one end of the roller to fill it with used motor oil for ballast.
The roller’s axle is mounted on regreasable, self-aligning pillow block bearings. Metal “cut-off strips” made from angle iron and 1/2-in. rebar are mounted in front and back of the roller and prevent “tacky” soil from sticking to it. The strips can be horizontally adjusted to within 1/4 in. of the roller.
Mounted behind the roller are 4 spiked hard plastic wheels that can be spaced anywhere from 3 to 6 in. apart. The spiked wheels were designed for use in pairs on a commercial walk-behind dibbler equipped with a push handle and frame. Clark bought 2 of the dibblers from Two Bad Cats, in Clarendon, Vt. (ph 802 775-8233; firstname.lastname@example.org) which sells the dibblers unassembled. He removed the push handle and frame from each unit and screwed the spikes onto the wheels. Then he inserted a metal rod through all of the wheels to serve as an axle. The rod is attached to angle iron extensions that Clark added on both sides to the back of the material carrier.
“I used my home-built packer-dibbler for the first time last spring and it worked great,” says Clark. “To plant my garden, first I make a pass with a hipping ridger that has 2 angled gangs of discs on a toolbar, which make ridges. Then I make a pass with the roller-dibbler to flatten the ridge and then punch holes into it. I broadcast seed by hand into the holes and then make another pass with the roller-dibbler to pack the seed into the soil.
“I control the depth of the dibbler wheels by shortening or lengthening the 3-pt.’s top link. If I want I can raise the wheels all the way off the ground and use the machine only as a roller. Any dibbler holes that I don’t use for transplants serve as a mini-reservoir for fertilizer and also conserve moisture after a rain,” says Clark.
The gap between the roller and dibbler wheels is covered by part of the material carrier’s floor in order to keep dirt from building up.
Clark says sharing his garden produce with others has been very rewarding. “I’ve been using a grist mill to grind the corn we grow into meal for more than 20 years,” he says. “I’ve probably made 1 to 1 1/2 tons of corn meal during that time but have never sold a pound of it because I give it all away.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cecil Clark, Sr., 516 Holland Road, Crowley, La. 70526 (ph 337 783-7903; email@example.com).
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