Mike (tfb)

Sep 252011
 

Dramm 1000PL Redhead Water Breakers

The fantastic classic Redhead water breaker has been expanded into a line, with new narrow and wide spray pattern versions available in addition to the standard in red. The Redhead line also has a new color-coded look.

From the Dramm site: “Dramm introduces our new Orange Wide Pattern 1000PL and Green Narrow Pattern 1000PL. The new 1000PLs have the same soft flow of the popular Redhead but with different pattern widths. Growers requested a variety of widths over the years as they found different uses for the standard 1000PL. The Green 1000PL-N is perfect for focused watering where more control is required. The Orange 1000PL-W throws a wider pattern than the standard Redhead, offering the ability to cover more area with a soft, gentle flow.”
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Sep 252011
 

WordPress

If you’re small-scale farming, having a presence on the Web is pretty well a must these days. One approach is to start a farming blog. There are two basic approaches, either by opening a (free) account on one of the blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress or TypePad, or by running your own blog software. The second way I far prefer, for flexibility and control, and it’s really no more difficult than using a blog service. Only thing is, it’ll cost you a few dollars a month (starting at $5-6), plus around $10 to register a domain name (www.yourfarmsite.com). If you opt for the DIY route, there is only one serious choices in blogging software: WordPress. WP is open source and free, friendly, easy to set up, and quite straightforward to use. It is also highly customizable (you can add anything, from contact forms to photo galleries with ease), and, well, FUN. That’s just one opinion, but an opinion shared by…literally, millions. (BTW, this site runs on WP.) If you’re about to set up a new blog, or are unhappy with your current situation, definitely give it a try!

Jan 112009
 

FarmArt Six-Row Seeder

Based on a first-hand recommendation, and a fair bit of experience with uneven mesclun seeding, and endless carrot thinning (all thanks to the the less-than-precise Earthway seeder), I’m up for one of these! The FarmArt Six-Row Seeder is sold through the well-known US seed house, Johnny’s Selected Seed. From the web site blurb: “Up to six rows can be planted at once with 2 1/4″ spacing between rows. A roller in front firms and levels the soil. One in the back closes the furrows and drives the seed shaft. Four hole sizes are provided for seeds from raw carrots through pelleted lettuce. Three different drive ratios give spacing within the rows of 1″, 2″, or 4″.” This covers all the spacings I can think of for carrots, mesclun and other salad greens, green onions,… By using only some of the six hoppers, you can get row spacings of 4½”, 6¾”, 9″ or 11¼”. According to the brochure, “This design arose from Eliot Coleman’s experience with pinpoint seeders, customer feedback to Johnny’s, and design and development work by Art Haines of FarmArt,” which also sounds good, as in, practical! The only problem is, at $549, it’s a bit of an investment for my 2-acre scale of tiny farming, especially since I also want to try the equally recommended Jang seeder

Jan 112009
 

Northern Industrial spotlight

Maybe every tiny farm already has one of these, a rechargeable high-intensity spotlight—I’m posting this because Bob, who’s been farming for over 40 years, doesn’t, so maybe it’s something you hadn’t considered. The one pictured is a 10 million candlepower Northern Industrial model, I have a similar Sunforce brand. Previously, I had a couple of 1 million candlepower units, then the 10 million got less expensive ($30CDN on special in 2007), now there are 15, 20, 25 and 40 million units… 10 million is just fine. Having a really bright light comes in handy for nighttime missions, whether it’s dealing with some sort of mechanical emergency, retrieving something left in the field, or just checking things out, as well as poking around in larger outbuildings, like big old barns. You can’t compare the amount of light these produce to what regular flashlights provide. Yes, it could be considered a somewhat decadent convenience tool, and you could do without, but they really are useful! Ideally, I’d like a rechargeable high-intensity LED version that can also be hand-cranked (if that’s possible), as in my experience these halogen models, while advertised as being good for around 45 minutes, only run from 20-30 minutes on a full charge—if you’ve walked out in some woods, or to the end of a big field, 20 minutes can go by pretty quick.