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  1. #11
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Anyone built a raised bed shaper with a plastic mulch layer?

    Interesting thread. I don't have a large enough garden to bother with a mechanical means like you are discussing but I do have a question. Once you develop your beds with the plastic mulch how do you plant?

    MarkV

  2. #12
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    Southern VT, Southern ME
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    Default Re: Anyone built a raised bed shaper with a plastic mulch layer?

    Transplants are most often used both bare root or cell pots but you can direct seed with plastic too and either set by hand or mechanically. Whatever way you do it you have to make a hole in the mulch. I have most always planted by hand just used a utility knife to make a slit in the plastic, setting the plant and measuring off the next spacing as I move down the row. A stiff fixed blade utility knife works best for me and I can quickly sharpen it with a flat file when needed. I just find replacable blade type utility knives take more work in the field to change blades. The plastic rips more instead of a clean slice when blades get dull. Whatever is handy is best. Others have tried a hand propane torch to melt a hole whatever works. I have used a water wheel plastic mulch transplanter before too. With them all you need to do is place the plants on a wheel and the machine punches the hole drops the plant and waters it in. There are also various styles of mechanical wheel hole punchers that can be used to prepunch holes at set spacing and seeds can be set with mechanical vacum seed planters

    After years of pulling plastic up I think one of the handiest tools to build is the mulch lifter

    Heres pretty slick vid of punching holes Plastic mulch hole punching - YouTube

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Anyone built a raised bed shaper with a plastic mulch layer?

    Thanks, that answers my question. I do pretty much what you described on a much smaller scale. Planting large rows by hand has to make for a long day. I always wondered about doing seed under plastic mulch, was afraid it would never work it's ways up to the cut in the mulch plastic. I generally start my plants inside and put small peat pots in holes I cut. It sure saves on the weeding. One more question, do you reuse the mulch material and if not what is done with it.

    MarkV

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Anyone built a raised bed shaper with a plastic mulch layer?

    Mark I have left plastic down and used it a second time. I mentioned it in another recent thread too. It worked ok but there was really no good way to incorporate fresh fertilizer except to sidedress the bedrows or apply a liquid fertilizer directly to the plantings. I dont use drip tape...yet! I always send my plastic off to the landfill I usually get 1000ft or so in to a couple of contactor size trash bags. Now I'm not advocating it and dont even know if its a legal way of disposing it but sometimes farms burn it. My ex fil always did that and also the all the empty plastic bags from fertilizing 25 acres of hay field. Always told me it was ok. Dunno? I also had the best results pulling it up in the spring the plants had long rotted away by then otherwise you have to cut or pull out plants by hand to get the mulch up sometime

    Boy do I know large commericial transplanting can be a long day or week even. Being out in the sun wind, or rain. Best to do it early in the morning if you can too. Transplant machines are amazingly fast and efficient but so are the amigos I work with!

    I usually make a cut like an X sometimes just a straight slit depending on the size of the transplant root. Popping them bareroot out of plastic 606 or 608's containers is a bit easier compared to 3.5 or 4" jiffy pots. If there was a concern about the seed growing out under the plastic one could easily make a more open hole by cutting out a small square. I've also used a bulb digging tool to make neat round hole with some success but the plastic really needs to tight and the edge sharp. Crows cause biggest problem for me with direct seeding. Sometimes they will even pull up transplants.

  5. #15
    Platinum Member Reyer Farms's Avatar
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    Default

    Be sure to check tire spacing for rows also.

    Not to get off track. DFB, do you recall the manufacturer of water wheel that drops cell as it turns?

  6. #16
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Anyone built a raised bed shaper with a plastic mulch layer?

    Ya it was the Holland 1265 water wheel planter

    Just click on the link theres a video shows it in use


    There are other brands too

    MT has a nice line

    plus theres Rainflo and Reddick

  7. #17
    Platinum Member Reyer Farms's Avatar
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    Thanks DFB, I have a Rainflo, and really like it. Saw a mt last year at another farm, it was a tube drop, very cool.

  8. #18
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    Picked up my sweeps today, and laid out some steel on the floor. Think later today I will walk around it with a beer in hand and theorize. The reason I want to use sweeps in front of the shaper is I want the shaper to drop down on the dirt.

  9. #19
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    Trivoli, IL
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    SSTT (Sideways Snake Tain Tractor) and STB (sideways train box) tractor, dirt harvester

    Default Re: Anyone built a raised bed shaper with a plastic mulch layer?

    wanting to keep an eye on this thread, so just replying.
    Ryan

  10. #20
    Elite Member Baby Grand's Avatar
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    Windsor, CT.
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    Kubotas: L3240GST B2320HST B5100D & G5200H

    Default Re: Anyone built a raised bed shaper with a plastic mulch layer?

    Ah yes. The Walking of the Beers.
    The venerated opening ceremony of successful implement builds in many lands.
    Using the sweeps in front of the shaper should do just what you say by breaking up the soil before the shaper gets to it.
    Remember: the time to start taking pictures is now.
    No pictures; it didn't happen.
    Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.
    That's the problem with trouble.
    It always starts out as such fun."
    - Randall Brown

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