[Market-farming] Harvest cart - Crawler or Drangen

Aaron Brower aaronbrower at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 22 20:45:56 EDT 2011

I am dead set on either purchasing or fabricating a harvest cart this winter. I would think of it more as a lay down weeder for carrots and beets but would utilize it for harvesting as well. 
I see a few different possibilities. 
1 - self propelled, by just pulling oneself forward. 
2 - pull behind a tractor in creeper gear. This would need at least 3 attached together to do 3 beds at once. 
3 - attached directly to a 3 point hitch. This could be simply a frame that hovered over 3 beds at once.
Does any one use an instrument similar to any of these?  Any such thing for sale or plans to fabricate?

From: Marlin Burkholder <burkholders at glenecofarm.com>
To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, August 22, 2011 7:55 PM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Harvest cart - Crawler or Drangen

> Growing pole bean seems like a better idea in the short term. I am going
> to try next season, outside, on IRT plastic.  I know treillising is a
> lot of work, but I am going to be doing it for a couple crops anyway
> (Sugar Snap, cucumber, etc).  The main problem with this, beside growing
> in a not-ideal climate for pole beans, is market acceptance.  People
> around here strongly prefer small beans, and beans longer than 6" will
> be a hard sell.  Still, I am going to give it a shot.  We'll see.
> Any comments/advices on the above two?  There is a *huge* market for
> fresh beans in my area, and I sell them faster than I can pick.  It
> would be wonderful if I could sell more of these profitably without
> breaking my back!  :)
I have been having fairly good returns growing "Tennessee Flat Pod" pole
string beans, an heirloom. They produce a 8"-10" long pod about 3/4" wide.
Pick them when the pod is wavy, meaning that bean seeds are forming inside
the pod. They present a new bean eating experience compared to the
conventional "blue lake" style bush beans most people are used to.  I have
people who have bought them the previous year asking me when I am going to
have them this year. I like them best when there are a few pods that have
gotten too old and had to have the beans inside shelled out and mixed with
the younger snapped beans. There are a few strings in the pods but they are
not bad to deal with.  Flavor is full and robust and leaves the eater with a
feeling of being well fed.

I build a trellis consisting of a single high tensile wire suspended about
six and a half feet above ground clipped tp the top of steel T-posts spaced
about 20 feet apart.  One can suspend Hortanova plastic trellis netting
(quicker) from the HT wire or tie on baler twine drop strings about every
6-8 inches. I can build 150' of this trellis in a couple of hours. At end of
season I cut off and burn the drop strings or Hortanova and roll up the HT
wire for next season.  I have had some success with letting the Hortanova
hang for much of the winter and, before the work starts getting crazy in the
spring, rolling it up, old bean vines and all, and stomping on the roll
until much of the old dried vines have broken up and fallen out. The reused
Hortanova does not have to have all of last season's vine growth removed to
be reusable.

Picking these beans while standing up goes much faster and is much more
comfortable than picking bush beans. They are high yielding and if well
cared for can be picked multiple times over several weeks.  One 150' row
will produce a heckuva pile of beans.

I have swapped seed with several of my Old Order Mennonite relatives in
Virginia and they have spread them among their community and have some
others growing them in Ohio.

There are probably other heirloom pole bean varieties that would perform
will with this system and are superior eating beans compared to many bush
varieties that have been selected on the basis of their amenability to
mechanical harvest.  Some effort needs to be made to educate customers to
these old time varieties but once you have them converted they are loyal

Marlin Burkholder
Virginia's Shenandoah Valley 

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