What's the Best Farm Equipment?
(Western Kentucky, USA)
Last year my wife and I moved from a cramped city dwelling situation onto 12 acres and built our retirement home (retirement is 20+ years in the future). The land is mostly hilly and has about 9 acres in second growth woods. There are two old pond beds that were dry when we bought the place. The land that is clear had been left fallow for three years, but prior to that was a tobacco field for 20 years. We did not find any earthworms in the ground anywhere I tried to dig a garden spot, I say tried because the ground is heavily compacted medium clay loam.
So for the first couple years I am using and plan to use the same roto tiller for garden plots, and the same garden tractor / riding mower to maintain the areas that we are not using, to help keep weeds and unwanted pests at bay.
New to me and a strange tool to most people in my area is a bush Scythe. I bought it a few weeks after we moved here.
Also purchased at about the same time was a string trimmer with an optional blade attachment. I use these to open and maintain trails in the woods, and keep the roadside clear. The string trimmer has died, and will likely not be repaired nor replaced. A good Scythe, I have found, is more useful, and actually easier to use and maintain than the string trimmer.
Now lets talk about other ground working equipment, keeping in mind that I still work in the city to support us until we can make this place pay for itself, and support us with food.
Most people locally recommend getting a tractor, I do not want to loosen and airate the soil only to compact it back down by driving over it, and do not want the extra expense of fuel and maintenance to use one. Draft animals are out of consideration as there will not be enough use from them to justify the food and shelter they require.
What does that leave to work the ground with?? Human power is great in small areas, but the acreage is just too much to break with a shovel and fork.
Any Ideas for what equipment to transition to as we near our dream of self sufficiency?
MEG: CHICKENS AND PIGS ARE GREAT FOR WORKING THE SOIL! ADD HEAPS OF ORGANIC MATTER AS EITHER A GREEN MANURE CROP OR WASTE E.G. SPOILT HAY, HORSE MANURE, GRASS CLIPPINGS. PIGS CAN BE EASILY CONTROLLED WITH LIGHT ELECTRIC FENCING, CHICKENS WITH A "CHICKEN TRACTOR" MOVABLE CAGE.