Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Community of Interest › Web-Links to Articles, Movie/Videos, and Web-Sites › Making raised beds traditionally
- December 16, 2015 at 4:55 pm #86782
I’d like to share 2 video’s of how they used to make raised beds with horses.
The videos come from Belgium. This method was also used in the Netherlands. Where I live (Friesland, Holland) we would call it the small (narrow) acre (bed) culture.
Depending on the region (soil & tradition) the beds were at different width, with a furrow (path) in between of 30 centimeters wide and 20 cm deep.
This small acre culture came in Friesland (province of Holland) in the 18th century along with the potato crop (culture).
Small gardners would spade these beds, on bigger scale they were made by horse. Plowing and harrow the bed (top) with the horse on one side of the bed, the harrow on top and the driver in the other furrow. The driver has a (pull) rope connected to the harrow to keep the harrow in place.
Other horse work was a V-shaped harrow to “clean” the furrows (paths).
The rest of the work in the crop was hand work.
After one year of cultivation the plow goes to the raised beds, then you start plowing at the furrow and go around. So the next new furrow comes to in the old middle of the (yesteryears) previous bed. Then at the outside of the field you would have to half beds.
When drainage (pipes) became in practice and water levels were lowered (by water pumping mills) the potatoes no longer needed a raised bed and were grown succesfully in ridges instead. And this raised bed culture got out of practice.
The first 3 minutes of this video show the small acre culture.
Another video, nice clean straight beds
In Belgium they have the culture of using a “jerk” or “hot” line.December 17, 2015 at 8:15 am #86786RonParticipant
thank you so much for sharing these two videos it is great. In the first video it is hard to see the implement up close. It does not appear to be a plow but more like what we would think of as a hiller? Is that correct or is it a conventional plow and I am not seeing it clearly?
In the second video we see a man walking one furrow over holing the plow in place with a pole is that correct?
RonDecember 22, 2015 at 6:04 pm #86845
Thank you Ron.
The implements seen in the first video (in the raised bed culture) are:
1. A plow with wooden beam and one handle.
2. A hiller or “middle buster” to clear away the last part. To stay in place the implement as U-
shaped guide upside down (to keep it “in track”).
3. A harrow.
In the second video the “plow-pole” is held by the second man. That plow-pole serves to strike down (or flatten) the last plow pass. So a nice edge is left behind on the bed.
In the part where the plow-pole is used for the second time (1:35), it is placed a little lower on the plow to make a good edge.
Jelmer.December 24, 2015 at 9:51 pm #86876RonParticipant
Thanks Jelmer I have never seen or heard of a “middle buster”that was my confusion now it
makes sense to me. The idea of the “plow pole” is also new to me. Good to see different ideas.
thank you for your help it now makes sense to me. the video’s are very good and the
horses are great.
RonDecember 26, 2015 at 4:10 am #86883
You could call the “middlebuster” a hiller too, same thing, only here with a guide (in the soil) to stay centered.
Thank you & cheers,
Jelmer.December 26, 2015 at 11:35 am #86884JaredWoodcockParticipant
Hi Jelmer, Off Topic
I talked to a friend of yours from the roxbury farm and she said you were familiar with the one horse multi row cultivators. Could you do a write up about the use of those tools sometime? Im hoping to drive down and take a look at the roxbury farm tool carrier so that I can weld one up.
Thanks for showing us the raised bed systems!September 26, 2016 at 4:48 pm #89482
I know it’s been a while since this post was initially put uproducts but it seems the videos won’t work. I wondered if anybody would have a link to these videos. ThanksSeptember 26, 2016 at 5:47 pm #89491JeroenParticipant
If I remember well this is number one:
And this number two:
September 27, 2016 at 5:30 pm #89501
- This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Jeroen.
Thanks for that. I started this year with raised beds dug by hand after ploughing a small garden area. next year i hope to expand the garden and im looking for ways to tackle this with the horse. A while ago you sent me links to various different manufactures of equipment in europe. I wonder if the company equivinum plough and tools would work to make raised beds? Many thanks againSeptember 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm #89504
Making raised beds by hand is a good experience, “I’ve been in that furrow too”.
A traditional North American plow could make raised bed too. I like the simple and easy adjusting of a balance plow. The tradional ones (US made) seem like good light one to operate to me. My friend Tommy Flowers from Blackville South Carolina has a lot experience on such plows and sells them, as well as many parts (phone 803 259 6500).
Here is the equivinum website:
Hope this helps.October 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm #89510
Living in the UK i was looking more to europe for more favourable shipping costs and also the french have been quite inovative with horse drawn equipment. I had looked at I&J manufacturing’s two row cultivator but i am scaling up slowly and felt it may a bit over kill for my operations. Prommata equipment has my attention.October 17, 2016 at 1:49 pm #89569
Are you familiar with the Multi V from Italy?
I am thinking of buying that implement, it is light, well adjustable and good to use for multi-purposes.
At the end of this month I may try one out with the manufacturer. If I was to buy one, I would buy the basic (built on) tools and when successful extend the collection of tools.
Also Albano keeps on developing new tools, the disc hillers and de-hillers are the latest tool built.October 18, 2016 at 10:04 am #89572JaredWoodcockParticipant
On a side note,
Jelmer I met a young dutch woman at a concert recently who works in the hudson valley and knows you, and we share a friend with Dan Pettys, He told me to say hello.October 20, 2016 at 12:46 am #89578
That is very nice to hear side note. I know who you met, cool, thanks!
When you do meet Dan or Hannelore again, please say hello on my behalf. Nice small world out here.October 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm #89579Crabapple FarmParticipant
The revival of this thread, and a recent conversation with a friend about traditional methods of planting wheat, brought back to my mind an interesting passage about making raised beds with a plow. The passage is in regards to wheat, not potatoes. It took me a couple readings to realize that he was talking about raised beds. There was apparently some difference of opinion at the time regarding the merits of sowing into raised beds.
This is from The Modern Husbandman, or, the Practice of Farming, Vol. IV by William Ellis, 1744.
“A nice observation, on the sowing Wheat-seed in three and four Bout-lands in Middlesex and Buckinghamshire. – In last Month I have observed, that their Lands are, for the most Part, of a stiff, loamy, clayey Nature in Middlesex, and lie wet and flattish; which obliges their farmers to sow their Wheat-seed in a Manner most agreeable to their Earth and its Situation. For this Purpose, they altogether make Use of the Swing-plough, that turns up a Thorough or Furrow very shallow, or very deep, in three or four Bout-lands, which, about Acton, they sow Broad-cast, and plough the Wheat-seed in, leaving little, or none, in the Water-thoroughs; because, in gathering up the Earth to leave a large Drain for carrying off the Waters, the Seed is gathered up by the Plough, and laid to the Bout-lands. Now, they are obliged to leave large Water-thoroughs, to keep their Wheat dry, though it causes them to lose, I believe, more than one Foot of Ground in seven, throughout a Field; even more than they do in Aylesbury Vale, by sowing their Wheat in Ridge Broad-lands; and more than those Farmers do between Amersham and Uxbridge, though they sow their Wheat in three and four Bout-lands, as I am going to shew. After their Ground is got into a fine hollow Tilth (which to effect, they plow oftener than I ever knew any other Country do) they plow it, the last Time, with their two-wheel Wood-chip Plough into three or four Bout-lands, and commonly sow two Bushels and a Half of pirky or Lammas Wheat (but for the most Part, the former) over each Acre throughout a Field, by the Broad-cast Throw, which spreads the Seed over all the Ground, as it lies in the rough Condition the Plough left it in. When this is done, they immediately harrow all so flat down, that the Seed grows in the Ridge-part of the Land, as well as in all the Thoroughs; and thus they lose little or no Ground at all, and yet there remains a Sort of Water-thorough for the Wets to drain off, which seldom causes the Wheat, in this Part of Buckinghamshire, to suffer that grows in it, because their Land here is not of that very stiff Nature as to hold water, like that in Middlesex.
… In chalky Soils, Wheat-seed is commonly sown early in this Month [Oct], that the Wheat may get good Head against the frosty Season. Here some sow their Seed in two Bout-lands, others in Broad-lands; the Advocates for the first say it is best done so, because, in this Posture, the Wheat-seed cannot well be buried as in Broad-lands, and that, as one Thorough shelters another, the Winds have not so much Power to hurt it, as in Broad-lands. Others alledge, that Wheat, lying in the Stitch-shape, lies too high and dry, and is much more exposed to the Violence of Winds and Frosts than that sowed in Broad-lands; for, when it lies in Broad-lands, it remains and grows, in an even, low, snug Posture, the most of all out of the Power of Frosts, Winds, and Droughts.”
I have not yet tried to find pictures of plows of the era to make better sense of his recommendations – he mentions Swing-plough, two wheel Wood-chip plough, two wheel Wheat-stitch plough, two wheel Pea-stitch plough, and Foot-plough in this section, and others elsewhere.
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