We have a small garden at the house, due mainly to our postage-stamp-sized yard, which is already dominated by a 2 1/2 car garage, (and about 8 GTs in various stages of operation). It's about 10 wide by 30 feet long... enough room to grow some great tomatoes, and a few cucumbers and peppers.
However, it's hard to get back to due to running interference with 2 peach trees and an oversize compost pile.
Some people in our church let us use some property they have for a garden... an added plus is it has piped-in irrigation water (a major plus in the bone-dry West), and the price was right.... free.
A lot of it is in pasture, so I plowed it up last fall...I've covered that little episode elsewhere here on GT Talk.
I have never grown potatoes, but really wanted to try it this year. We love potatoes in all their various forms--baked (of course!!!), fried, in soups, Galloping (Scalloped)--this is the name we gave them when we were kids, and potato salad, etc.
I also wanted to have enough to store, since we've stored winter squash in a cool part of our basement and they've done well.
The land-owner disked up the spot for me with his compact tractor, but I needed a way to create furrows so I could plant the spuds in evenly spaced rows to make watering easier. I also didn't want to dig them all up with a shovel this fall, so I had to figure out a way to try and do it with a tractor.
I went to one of my favorite sites--You Tube, and watched how others planted and harvested potatoes. I found several helpful videos... if I can figure how to post them on the forum I'll do so...
Those that were done with a tractor used an attachment to furrow the ground, and planted the potatoes in the tops of the furrows. When the plants started coming in, they used a couple of angled disks on a vertical post to throw dirt up around the base of the plants. Then, at harvest time, they used a middle buster plow with a big wide furrowing blade to get under the potatoes and bring them to the surface.
I figured, "Why can't I do that with my GT?"
I have a White GT1650, which sits pretty high off the ground due to its 15 inch rear wheels... now I just needed the furrower/hiller/digger...
Here's what I decided to do:
I took a piece of 2" square tubing and cut it to just a bit wider than the outside edges of the rear tires. I then welded some pieces of 2" x 3" angle on it for the lower pins on my 3-point hitch. I drilled a 5/8" hole through them, and cut the threads off a couple 5/8" diameter grade 5 bolts, then drilled a 1/8" hole crossways for the hairpin clips.
I welded another piece of the same angle vertically and put a couple 11/16" holes in it for the top link.
This is the result:
I had the remains of an old Montgomery Ward walk-behind tractor that had two cultivator shanks on it, I figured those would make decent furrowers--I just needed to figure out how to attach them.
I next cut two pieces of 1/4" plate approx 4" x 5", and drilled 8) 3/8" holes in them. I used two 2" x 5/16" square U-bolts to attach the plate to the square tube, and put two 1 1/4 x 5/16" round U-bolts on each plate to clamp the cultivator shank to it.
The U-bolts were a little big for the 1" diameter cultivator shanks, and I was worried they wouldn't grip tight enough to keep the shanks from turning. so I squoze them together using my vise. To prevent making them into X-shaped pieces, I ran a nut down on each threads, then put the slotted cross plate over that, and ran one more nut down loosely on top to keep it from slipping off the bolt. I tightened the vise jaws against the unthreaded part of the bolt at the closed end, like this:
After mounting the cultivator shanks to the bar, I ended up with this:
I took it out to the garden spot, and tried it out.
The cultivator blades didn't work as well as I thought they would, but they did make a small furrow in the ground. I made successive furrows by putting the right hand tires in the left hand furrow, and moved to the left after each pass.
We then planted potatoes in the furrows and covered them over with a hoe and rake:
I realized that I needed a furrowing blade to make bigger furrows, and also some discs that I could angle so they would throw dirt up around the base of the plants when they started to grow--just like I had seen in the videos.
I finally found what I think is the solution, but I will put that in another post.
Hope this was helpful,
Edited by Utah Smitty, June 02, 2013 - 12:07 AM.