Ten of My Favorite Things
One aspect of farming I discovered I like is the ongoing search for solutions to make work easier, not harder. While some of my suggestions may be especially useful on a smaller farm, most would be helpful on any size farm. Many of these items provide efficiency while also preventing injury to yourself or those who work on your farm.
1. Post pounder. This is a must-have piece of equipment for a flower farm. Whether you use C stakes or T stakes or rebar for hoop support, a post pounder is safer and easier than lifting a sledge hammer high enough to hit a four to five-foot stake into the ground, especially for shorter folks.
2. Ear muffs. When pounding in T stakes or working with noisy equipment, wear ear muffs to protect your hearing.
3. Hay bale hook. We have two old-fashioned wrought iron hay bale hooks that enable us to stand upright when pulling up staples used to tack down landscape fabric and irrigation tubing. This saves time and effort, especially when taking up fabric in the fall.
4. 48-inch watering extension. We plant mostly in six-foot beds with fabric and although we use drip irrigation, we often need to provide extra water during dry spell or for newly-planted seedlings. The long wands provide a more ergonomically safe process with limited reaching to keep us safe from injury.
5. Ursa wagon. Every farm needs wagons that can serve many purposes. I use my Ursa wagons every day for harvesting, planting, and hauling dirt and tools in summer and winter. This particular wagon was made in Minnesota but unfortunately is no longer being manufactured. It dumps and has a 360 degree turning radius that allows me to turn it around in the paths between beds. Not sure if there is anything as good as Ursa but try to find a good wagon or cart.
6. Rolling carts with shelves. I was able to find most of my green epoxy rolling carts with shelves through auctions for restaurants going out of business. I use them for heat mats and lights for germination, then roll them outside to harden off the trays. They are perfect in the walk-in cooler and for storing empty trays, buckets or just about anything. The casters are expensive but worth having the flexibility to move them easily.
7. Rectangular buckets to hold 6-inch staples. I was given some sturdy narrow rectangular buckets with handles that hold the 6-inch staples perfectly. The narrow design hangs closer to the body which makes them easier to carry when full of heavy staples.
8. Min/Max thermometer. For $12 you can monitor how well your cooler is keeping the temperature you desire over a 24-hour period. It is also useful to monitor temperatures outside overnight when they dip close to freezing.
9. Drying racks. I had a couple of old-fashioned wooden clothes drying racks I bought in college that I resurrected to use for hanging flowers to dry. They are a space saver when you run out of rafter space or have limited room for drying.
10. Heated floors in the garage studio. My husband built our garage/studio and had the brilliant idea to use in-floor heating. It’s a great way to keep the heat steady, keep the floors dry, and survive a power outage.
If you want more information on any of these items, please let me know. I would love to hear what you have discovered that makes your farming easier, more productive, or safer.