This post was inspired by seeing this post from Allsun Farm (in Australia) and the Farm Start posts from other farmers we really respect and admire. I wanted to just share those links but then thought, what the heck, why don’t we just join in!
1) Vermont Cart. We use this ALL THE TIME! We love the one we bought at Lee Valley so much. This year, we bought an extra one from Vesey’s (it’s bright red) and, while it’s still useful, it is just slightly less wide, which doesn’t allow us to have our harvest bins side by side in it, which is way less efficient. So, we don’t like using it as much (whichever one of us is slower to grab the Lee Valley one has to use it) and our next one will be another one of these for sure.
2) Bio 360 biodegradable plastic mulch (made with non-GMO corn). We don’t love constantly weeding…and we don’t get paid to do it. We also hate seeing bare soil, especially in the spring when it can rain hard. So, we use Bio 360 for almost all of our transplanted crops. Especially, in year one, converting our hay fields to vegetable fields, it made all the difference in being able to work full-time on our farm (and not just weeding) without any other source of income and pay the bills. We buy it from Dubois.
3) Jang Seeder. Since we’ve gotten the Jang, we haven’t done any thinning of plants. Not to say it’s the perfect seeder (we still get frustrated with the results of seeding beets), but we’re very happy with it. The Earthway seeder still gets used for peas and beans because it does a great job with that but the Jang is responsible for the rest on our farm.
4) Winstrip trays. It is gross to us to have to throw out broken flimsy plastic seed trays and then just buy new ones that we know will have the same fate. We expect our Winstrip trays to last our lifetime and we’re very happy with the health of the resulting seedlings. To us, they’re a good replacement for soil blocks also (with their side slits and large bottom hole for air pruning as well as the nice layout for air circulation up top), since we found transplanting with soil blocks less enjoyable than with plugs. These are not easy to buy…you have to wait until the order is large enough to justify making a new batch….could be a few years even for the size plug trays you want.
5) CoolBot. What would we do without you, little CoolBot? We would spend a lot more money to get a good storage temperature for our crops. Also, I like the fact that it dries out the air. All of our bins of vegetables are kept covered with lids anyway and I think it’s better for my flower crops that the air is cold but not humid. We bought ours from Store It Cold.
If you want to share your Top 5 tools, I’d love to read them in the Comments below. We’re always on the look-out for new tools to increase efficiency and overall enjoyment!