Saturday, September 27, 2014

manual transplanting tools part 1 of 2

Manual tools for transplanting seedlings.
I have some neighbors who love sweet corn. Unfortunately for them so do the deer and crows.  They grow sweet corn from their own seeds so they are not coated with chemicals. Since they have equipment around for growing tobacco, they sprout corn in their tobacco float beds and transplant it using a tractor and single row planter.  They plant the corn seedling based on the date the soil temperature is likely to be high enough for corn. Not only do they beat the crows and deer but they generally gain a few weeks on their corn harvest.
When I lived in the far north I learned the value of planting plugs or seedlings. Alaska gets as much light as the Midwest states. The difference is most of it is in the summer months. You cannot wait for a seed to sprout when the soil is warm enough because you are losing daylight. So the answer is to grow seedlings timed to the average soil temperature needed for the crop you wish to grow. For some plants a larger pot was used to avoid the labor of transplanting and to be able to grow the seedling earlier and not have it become stunted or root bound.
I have found that there are many market gardeners who want to get in two crops. So they use seedling to save space. Many do this to reduce weeding. For as you wait for seeds to sprout and grow weed seeds will also sprout and grow. If you can put in a larger seedling it stands a better chance of competing with the weeds. In some cases it may even shade out the weeds like may eggplant tend to do.
Finally we have to deal with disease and insects. You can go online and find general date or temperature for when each pest or disease is likely to become a problem. Many times by transplanting you may be able to have your crops along by several weeks before the diseases or pests can reduce harvest or wipe them out. This may allow you time to get some type of crop harvested. After all it does no good to raise great plants only to have them die when they are just starting to produce a crop!
One thing you have to know if you are transplanting is at what stage of plant growth you need to transplant! For example with squash it is when the first true set of leaves appear but before the second set appear. Each plant has an idea stage for transplanting. Also, know the roots of the plant. Some have shallow roots some have deeper roots. You will want to have seedlings growing in the ideal sized seedling pot. You also want the ideal tool for that sized pot.
This brings us to tools for transplanting. There are more tools for transplanting that I can cover. Most are just variations of standard transplanting tools. Since High Calorie Gardening uses manual tools I have some of the ones that I might use listed below. I have listed the really great hand tools for transplanting to the end of this posting. Some of these are extremely impressive.

Simple manual Transplanting tools you may find at your average hardware store.

This multi-purpose stainless steel tool with its convex shaped blade is ideal for picking out and transplanting delicate seedlings.

For many years we have used and loved this elegant little stainless steel tool for pricking out and transplanting tiny seedlings. The original British manufacturer stopped making them in 2004, but we have finally found someone who produces them just for us…slightly modified but just as useful as the original. It’s amazing how much difference a small tool like this can make!

Four tools in one. Slices through sod, digs out dandelions, carves through bags of soil, transports and transplants. The big grip is sturdy and comfortable, giving you rapier-like control. The heat-treated blade is sturdy enough to withstand a beating. Its the first tool out of the shed and the last to be put away for the next battle.

Classic hand Steel Agricultural Transplanting Seedlings Tools Garden Transplanter
Classic unit for transplanting seedlings and planting bulbs.

Transplanting spade for bulbs and transplanting. Many types are used this is ergonomic.

Max Width 3CM Overall Length 33CM A cross between a trowel and a dibber, this unique little tool will help in levering plants out of pots as well as planting seeds and seedlings.

33" long; cuts 3" square plug of grass (you will have to sharpen it)

5-IN-1 Planting Tool. Bulb Planter, Flower Planting Tool, Turf & Lawn Plugger, Weeding Tool, Soil Sampler, Ground Cover Planting Tool
Dig planting holes quickly, one right after another, from a standing position. (Some issues with hard or rocky soils).

Usage: garden vegetables, planted seedlings, transplanting seedlings, garden cultivators

Zenport K245 ZenBori Soil Knife with 6-Inch Stainless Steel Serrated Blade (a tool I cannot live without)
Scoop knife, saw and weeding tool is similar to the Japanese HoriHori knife which is a must have tool!

The secret of transplanting a pot-bound plant is preserving the dirt ball intact. This simple Japanese tool has a very flexible cranked steel blade that allows you to quickly run the serrated stainless steel edge around the inside of any pot up to 7" deep and cleanly free the ball and any roots from the side.

Seedling Pots from local materials you can make.

Making Paper from Plants
If you have cat tails, corn cobs, etc. and collect lye form wood ash you can make crude paper. This you can form around items to make pots.
To make the lye you will need to make the paper - Make a Lye Leaching Barrel
What are Leaf pots? How to make and use them.
Development of Bio-decomposable (Jiffy) Pots for Raising and Transplanting Nursery Plants

Sample of some of the soil blocker tools.

These are used to make soil blocks to grow seedlings in. It is a simple technology that uses only material you are likely to have such as soil and compost.
Used to create soil blocks to start seeds in.

Soil Blockers are easy to use and made of robust zinc-plated steel construction. They provide a high rate of germination and easy blooming. Soil Blockers are one of the most efficient gardening tools available, inexpensive and maintenance free!

Soil block maker makes 1 4 inch soil block with removable 2 inch cubic insert built in for transplanting the 2 inch soil block into the 4 inch soil block.

Heavy duty tools

This deluxe heavy duty bulb planter with long handle is made from rugged steel construction. For planting bulbs.
Transplanters that work without bending over to plant.

Easy-Plant Jab-Type Planter
Plant into plastic mulch without bending over. Jab soil and drop the seedling, pull up transplanter and you are done.

Continued in part 2

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