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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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.

Nov 082008

Jang AP-1 seeder

The Jang AP-1 single-row hand seeder has gotten a couple of rave reviews, here and in Tiny Farm Forum. It apparently way outclasses the Earthway, although (or, at only) about triple the price: $365US. It plants from small to large seeds (basil, carrots and lettuce, to beans, peas and corn). Also available in 3- and 6-row configurations. I haven’t tried it, but it seems like a must-purchase for increased accuracy and reduced seed use, adding up to much less thinning and cash savings. Available in the US from Mechanical Transplanter and in Canada from Willsie Equipment Sales.

Mar 012008

Seed starting tools

This may come in handy for some, a display of all of the tools I have for indoor seed starting. This is for starting about 2,500 veggie seedlings. I have homebuilt, fluorescent-lit plant racks, and use mostly 38- and 72-cell plug sheets. Most of these tools are used always, some not as much: 1. The Seedmaster, a gadget for trickling out small seed as you rotate the wheel (the yellowSeed starting tools map pieces are click-in filters for different seed sizes); 2. assorted white plastic plant labels; 3. a dibbler or dibber or whatever, for poking little holes in soil; 4. a fine-point black waterproof marker (I like Sharpies) for labeling; 5. the mini-transplanter is essentially a tiny, stainless steel shoehorn for easy liberation of plugs from their cells; 6. a moisture meter, simply stick it in the soil; 7. plant snips for thinning seedlings; 8. Mini-Sim seeder: fill and shake out; 9. suction seeder with three tip sizes: squeeze the bulb, put the tip on a seed, release to hold, squeeze again to drop… ($25…what was I thinking?!); 10. digital timer for keeping track of repetitive tasks like bottom-watering trays one by one; 11. plant light meter, reads in footcandles, with settings for indoor and out; 12. digital indoor/outdoor min/max thermometer/hygrometer, mainly for keeping track of temperature; 13. magnifying glass with light, for examining seedlings (and GREEN MOSS) up close; 14. soil scoop for filling plug sheets and pots with seedling mix; 15. spray bottle with good quality spray head (more water per pull; I’ve used a wand mister like I have in the greenhouse, but the hose kept getting in the way, I may try one again for the seedling room this year); 16. small fibrepak flats, convenient for holding tools and seed packets on the potting table (left lying, the packets can so easily get wet…); 17. small bulldog clips, useful for all kinds of things, like organizing groups of seed packets. And the winners are…all of them, EXCEPT for: #9, which I found to be useless for my purposes; #8 which is great, but mostly for heavier hand seeding in the field, like for flowers; and #6, 11 & 13, which are more educational toys than essential tools, but still cool!