[Market-farming] Potato furrows and eggplant (separately)

Vern and Amy vaspencer at sisna.com
Mon Nov 5 10:15:23 EST 2012

We plant about 3" deep as well. (Our soil is only 6" deep in most places 
anyway before the subsoil which is usually clay and rock.)

We don't actually do multiple rows at once (yet).  We just have two 
small middle busters set at 40" apart and the 6" wide tires set at 64" 
on center.  We could do two in a bed like that, and probably will next 
year.  Up to now, we cut the first two rows in the field with both, then 
only cut one at time after that with the one not making a new furrow 
plowing in the last furrow made to keep the 40" spacing for the new 
furrow.  I think this is the most efficient use of space (not 
necessarily time) for the equipment we have for now. 

Since I had less experienced drivers cutting the furrows this year, the 
rows strayed from the 40" enough that I had to narrow the tractor down 
so I could only straddle one row while hilling instead of two.  This is 
not a big deal, since I only would hill one row at a time anyway even 
while straddling two, because two would be too much work for my little 
10 hp 60-year-old tractor.  This worked fine, except the rest of the 
crops wanted the wheels set back at the 64" spacing.  It takes time to 
change back, and you either lose time there or things slip through the 
cracks while you wait to hill the spuds again before changing.  To avoid 
this next year, I think we will cut two furrows at once, and throw away 
a little space between "beds".

The key to setting your spacing is knowing the spacing of the wheels of 
the tractor you will hill and dig with.  If you will be using a behemoth 
with 16.9" wide tires (which actually eat up 18") set at 64" on center, 
40 inches is way to close and you will squish potatoes that are near the 
side of the hill.  We laid it out (use a 20' long piece of freezer wrap 
or pencil it out on the shop floor to show 2 or 3 passes with the 
tractor--you'll be surprised what it shows) full scale, including 
drawing in the width of the tractor tires.  Dad and I have over 60 years 
combined experience reading blueprints, and trust me, it's easier doing 
this project full scale.  I think to accommodate that tractor one year, 
we had to plant *at least* 54" apart.  It was a space hog, but you don't 
want to waste your crop, either.

We can only dig one row at a time.


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