Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forum › Equipment Category › Equipment › homesteader innovations/adaptations
- May 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm #79607
Here are a few photos of some adaptations we have made to the pioneer homesteader that we got last year. We have found a few particular pros and cons about this implement as focused on market gardening. One of the pros that you will see here is how adaptable it is. I know that there have been other posts regarding the homesteader on here, but I hope this will be able to start some new conversations to it’s uses. All of these implements have been made to fit to the homesteader in the shop here with scrap metal and welder and a grinder. We were able to have Pioneer send us multiple sets of the quick connect blanks so that we could improvise off of them.
First picture is of the small disc setup we put together last year. I believe some of you may have seen this at the annual gathering last fall in Vermont when Chuck brought the machine along. We use these for light hilling, residue cutting, cutting vines, throwing soil in or out as they can pivot both directions. Very light tool, definitely not a primary tillage tool. In the picture we are cutting up a winter killed residue of peas and oats. Discs set strait so as not to move soil but to cut up trash into smaller pieces.
Second picture is a pair of rolling lilliston cultivators also set straight here and designed for working in close to fresh transplants in a high residue situation where a dragging type cultivator would clog. These mount the same way that the hillside cultivator implements mount so that you can rotate the spiders to move soil more or less, in or out.
Third picture is of an old tine weeder rigged out front of the machine cultivating freshly plowed and very loose soil. This pass is per-emergence on the potatoes. To mount this tine weeder we had to futz with the rigging from the evener to the cultivator frame, this in turn changed the angle of draft a little bit but since this is such a light weight pull for two horses it doesn’t seem to affect things too negatively.
Fourth and fifth pictures are also the tine weeder. First is making a pass over our no-till onion experiment where the ground is quite firm compared to the potatoes and we were equally impressed with the effects on both soil conditions. Finally a close up shot of how we are connecting to the frame.
Overall positive observations so far are that, yes the machine is limited as a primary tillage tool, though, put to use in the established market garden as intended, it can be very useful. Having the ability to “make up” different implements in the shop has been a very cost effective way to accomplish specific tasks in the market garden. The design is very ergonomically comfortable, both entering and exiting the machine as well as working it in the field. The foot steering mechanism is nicely designed and once your comfortable with it you can be very precise. In general I think it’s best feature is it’s adaptability to many things.
A few cons observed are that we have been constantly frustrated with the lack of vertical clearance underneath the machine. That said, we talked with pioneer about this and they have offered to make up a larger wheel for more ground clearance, though we haven’t gone there yet.
The cultivator frame and clamps are a different size than traditional riding cultivators, so you cannot exchange a spring reset post for the rigid posts they supply. These posts tend to move in there clamps, and being rigid, if you lay into a large stone, something breaks. Usually the bolt on the shovel, or the cultivator frame will bend. The potato shovel also needs a breakaway designed into it for the same reason.
Another reason we will continue using the old Mcormick riding cultivator in the garden is for bed forming reasons and wheel width. Our 34″ center rows don’t jive with the homesteader as it’s narrowest setting is 40″ As we have adopted the Nordell’s bed forming techniques with wide sweeps (which we can’t get underneath the homesteader) and a furrowed pathway for the horses and this requires sweeps to be set behind your wheels which you cannot do on the homesteader.
Just a few thoughts from the field…
We would like to hear if anyone is using this machine in other creative ways.May 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm #79614
I love the innovations that you have come up with! Having no Homesteader I cannot add to them at all, but I am glad to see someone utilizing this tool so well. I just came in from tine weeding my potatoes, I have the same weeder, but I use it on our JD cultivator. The JD is very uncomfortable compared to the McCormick Deering and the steering is very poor also, so it’s use is dedicated to the tine weeder in potatoes, corn, etc. We simply use a couple bolts and boards to clamp it onto the back of the gangs under the seat. I am glad that there was enough room on the Homesteader for you to make use of such a great tool.
Thanks for sharing you innovations and pictures.May 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm #79615
Your welcome.. Just wondering if you are able to get the full 7′ of tine weeder to ride out behind the wheels on the JD or if it is trimmed down to fit between them? Would be nice to see a picture sometime, that sounds like a great low cost solution for transporting the tine weeder…and making use of the big old JD.
Looks like my pictures ended up in a different order than I intended them to in the post above and one was left out of the tine weeder in the young onions so here it is.May 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm #79618
Yes the full 7′ are behind the wheels, I will try to get a picture.May 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm #79627
Here is our JD with the weeder attached.May 21, 2013 at 5:37 am #79629
Very cool, I like how you set out behind the wheels. The one thing about our setup is that, even though it may be a small issue, the wheels run behind the weeder and may pack back in weed seedlings pulled up by the tines.May 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm #79631
I have just started using my homesteader this season. Like you I love the versaltility. I can not stress enough that this is not a primary tillage tool. I have haflingers and have been “imagining” a way to hook up another one unicorn to get just a little more draft for plowing sod. Since the evener is hooked with a chain to the frame on each side, I was wondering about running a chain from the front horse and have it Y at the evener to both sides of the frame. Or if that is too much trouble, just drop an eye bolt in the spot of the tounge extension and attach to that. We’ll have to see this summer when I have more time to play…May 23, 2013 at 8:51 am #79655
Jay, I don’t have any experience with a unicorn hitch, though it seems that it would be asking a lot of the “unicorn horse” as they would presumably have two feet in the furrow and two feet on the land.
We don’t have the plow attachment for the homesteader so I can’t add much to thoughts on plowing with the machine either but it seems like a 4 up hitch would be a bit more comfortable for the horses if you need more draft..then again, plowing sod would be primary tillage.May 23, 2013 at 9:38 am #79656
How about hooking three abreast?May 23, 2013 at 10:33 am #79657
This is the best picture I have of the evener apparatus. Although we have modified it a bit for this tine weeder adaption, the general idea is the same. It seems that the trouble with three abreast would stem from the fact that its designed as a riding cultivator and would come with the same issues as trying to rig 3 abreast on an old riding cultivator..mostly because the tongue doesn’t shift, and you have two points of pull connecting into the frame instead of one. Maybe someone else has a better idea on how to make that happen though…May 23, 2013 at 11:52 am #79659
In theory, I think that unicorn hitch might work. I am not sure how much power you would add this way but it might make a difference. I think the front horse could walk on the land, just at the edge of the furrow. It would be a neat peice of driving though. I don’t imagine that a lack of power is the main reason this is “not a primary ” tillage tool. It might be easier to find something else to plow with.May 24, 2013 at 7:16 am #79665
Four up is hard to do with 3 horses…smiles…As I look at your picture of the evener and chains, I notice that my chains run straight back to the frame, not at an angle like yours. Is that due to one of your modifications? It would seem to me that would affect the draft… just a thought.
Getting a more satisfactory primary tillage tool might be easier and make make the most sense, but I don’t have any more cents in my equipment fund for this year! Smiles…
As shown in Wild’s picture, I don’t know how you’d even think about setting up three abreast.May 24, 2013 at 10:24 am #79668
Different evener and tongue set up. Split the tongue, make a set up like a buggy shafts. One in the middle ,one on each side. Hitch with a tri-angle plate. all horses pull even. Just makes the hitch about 8-10 in. longer.
Might take more to explain but that’s the way I would do it with three horses, and the need for a tongue.May 25, 2013 at 5:54 am #79675
Jay, your right in seeing the difference in chain angle and I think your also right about the change in draft.. good eyes. This set up we run only for the tine weeder, as we needed all the room we could get up front of the machine. So we removed the two drop pieces from the evener and hooked the chain right up to the evener instead. We felt we could justify this only because the tine weeder is such a light draft tool that it probably wouldn’t make too much of a difference.. So that said, we do run the chains at the straight pull setup with the drops for all of our other uses of the machine.
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