The Water Wheel Transplanter

Planting is back- and knee-breaking work. Jen and I know this all too well. We planted onions for three hours yesterday afternoon, alternating between squatting, kneeling, bending and any other semi-comfortable position we could find. None of them remained comfortable for more than a few feet. In those three hours we planted 2.5 hundred-foot rows. As we contemplated all the planting our futures held, we groaned.

Lucky for us most of the planting we do this season won’t be handled in the same fashion as the onions thanks to a fancy new gadget the farm procured: a water wheel transplanter.

photo 3A water wheel transplanter, as you can see, is a nifty device that hooks up to the tractor and allows you to ride along (semi) comfortably and plant your seedlings. The wheels poke perfectly-sized holes in the soil and fill said holes with water so all you have to do is tuck your plant in and roll on to the next hole. Pretty cool, huh?

Dan was incredibly excited about the water wheel transplanter. He’d actually told me all about it when I interviewed for the job, how it was going to revolutionize their planting this season (they didn’t have it last year). We tried to use it to plant the onions (without the hole-poking wheels since we used the dibble for that), but even at the slowest speed it was too fast. We realized pretty quickly that it would take less time to plan the onions manually so we put the transplanter back in the shed.

Today we tested it out with cabbage and kale. Jen and I were nervous that things would go the same way as the onions, but it actually worked pretty wonderfully. Dan drove the tractor while Jen and I sat in the back and planted. I can’t say it was comfortable, but it was much less painful than onion planting. And it was so much faster! We planted close to 1,900 seedlings in roughly two hours. Dan said last year it took them at least a day, if not longer, to plant the same amount. I can’t even imagine!

I was too busy planting stuff to take a video of it for you, so I found one on YouTube. This is how I spent my day:

5 thoughts on “The Water Wheel Transplanter

  1. I can see why Dan was incredibly excited – I am too! (I’m actually stifling the urge to applaud.) I know efficiency isn’t always the best thing on the animal side, but I’m loving all these time/work-saving gadgets. As for the onions, could you use it if you went over the rows several times?

    • We probably could, but by the time you did that it would’ve been just as fast (or faster) to plant them by hand. And doing it by hand saves on fuel. The onions were also hard because the bulbs were just so small! Thankfully they are all done and we should be able to use the transplanter for everything else.

    • Yes, while planting onions I rotated between standing, sitting and squatting. Nothing felt comfortable for very long. The transplanter helps a lot!

  2. Pingback: Perspective | Girl Gone Farming

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