21st Century Toy Farm

21st century toy farm

Toy farm 2

“Hoping to cultivate a better understanding of where the food on our plates comes from, Tomm Velthuis designed a toy farm highlighting the unsustainable reality of the meat industry.

The wooden set, called Playing Food, comes complete with 200 pigs, the enormous amounts of food required to fatten them up, the trees that must be cleared for feed crops, and the acid rain caused by the pigs’ manure. It’s factory farming packaged as an ‘innocent’ childhood toy.”

See more pictures at Tomm’s blog. The farm is on display at mEATing-kill your darlings, an art event about our relationship with meat and animals in Tilburg, the Netherlands. See also: Can I see your Meat License?

The Culticycle: a Pedal-Powered Tractor

the culticycle

“The Culticycle is a pedal powered tractor that can cultivate, seed, spray, or pull gear for most low horsepower tasks. Small tractors do many jobs very well and very fast, but also consume fuel, compact soil, cost a lot, and cause physical damage to the operator -– mainly spine and joint problems. Many of their jobs could be done, slower but better, by human pedal power.

This prototype consists of:

  • the front ends of 2 bikes welded together at 42” on center;
  • a lawn tractor differential mounted in a unistrut rectangle for a rear end , with 3/4″ round axles and 20” ATV tires;
  • a bike frame welded above the rear end with motorcycle sprocket and chain driving the differential (a springloaded idler tensions the chain);
  • a belly mount lift to hold cultivators, seeders, etc.;
  • a bike handlebar, separate from the bike frame and joined to the front end, steering the front wheels.

The materials are rebar, unistrut, landscape rake tines, and parts from bikes, an ATV, and a lawn tractor. It attempts to show that human pedal power can do some jobs of small tractors, albeit in twice the time, and that the design can be simple enough that no extra weight is needed for traction. The effort required is similar to climbing a 10 degree slope on a seventies Schwinn 3 speed. This prototype was built for testing: a more easily buildable version is in the works.”

Found at Farmhack. This is begging for an open modular approach. Thanks to Tim Cooke.

Read more: Slow Farming Tools.

How to Plant an Iroquois Garden

Three sisters“According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations.” 

“Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen on their roots, improving the overall fertility of the plot by providing nitrogen to the following years corn. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants, making them less vulnerable to blowing over in the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, thereby improving the overall crops chances of survival in dry years. Spiny squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans. The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season, to build up the organic matter and improve its structure.” Read more: 1 / 2 / 3.

Straw Bale Gardening

straw bale gardening

“Straw Bale Gardening is simply a different type of container gardening. The main difference is that the container is the straw bale itself and is held together with two or three strings.”

“Once the straw inside the bale begins to decay the straw becomes ‘conditioned’ compost that creates an extraordinary plant rooting environment. Getting the straw bales conditioned is an essential part of the process, and should be started two weeks prior to your target planting date wherever you are located.”

“This gardening technique works well anywhere in the country or the world for that matter.” Read more: here and here.

Solar Powered Garden Helper Machine

Solar powered garden machine“I really love gardening but I have a bad back and when it comes to staying bent over in the garden it gets rough. So I built this Helper Machine. I call it My P-Machine. Planting/Picking/Pulling weeds/Putting around the garden machine.”

More.

Hat tip to Rob De Schutter.

Lifting Tool for Carrying Plant Containers

lifting tool for plant containersThe tool shown here was designed for use in outdoor nurseries specializing in ornamental and bedding plants. At nurseries in California where it was tested, it reduced workers’ forward bending angle by as much as 47%.

The time spent working at a forward-bent angle of more than 20 degrees was reduced by nearly half. Hand gripping effort was reduced by more than half. Lifting strain was reduced by 40%.

Workers reported less work-related pain when using the handles, and those who had the most severe symptoms at the start reported the most improvement.

[Read more…]