Monday, October 15, 2012

Vegetable Equipment How-To Videos

The Seed Farm launches four new vegetable equipment how-to videos designed to help vegetable farmers choose appropriate equipment and use new equipment successfully. These videos produced in collaboration with Penn State Extension provide pros and cons; and a chance to see less familiar equipment in action for four pieces of equipment from the Seed Farm’s equipment demonstration: a spader, plastic layer, Japanese paper pot transplanter and three push seeders.

“Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it is essential to vegetable farm success,” says Penn State Sustainable Agriculture Educator Tianna DuPont. “We are excited to begin providing online media to help new farmers make good equipment choices and provide a last minute review before starting up the tractor to use new equipment for the first time.”

The ‘star’ of the videos, Seed Farm Director Sara Runkel shares hands-on knowledge and tips. Runkel has more than 13 years of organic vegetable farming experience. She shares important tips on set-up from leveling a spader, and starting before engaging with the soil; to the nitty-gritty of filling paper pot transplanter trays. “We worked hard to film the how-tos in enough detail to help you [new farmers] save time and struggle when learning to use new equipment,” says Runkel. Though not a replacement for live equipment training (or reading the manual!), the video producers think they will be a good additional resource. Importantly, these videos provide an opportunity to ‘see’ potential equipment purchases in action while farmers are considering their options. “The more information producers have on equipment pros and cons, the more likely they will be able to make the best investment for their particular farm needs,” says Runkel.

These videos are part of an ongoing equipment demonstration at the Seed Farm, Lehigh County’s Agricultural Incubator. This project has trialed seventeen weed management, soil preparation, and seeding and transplanting tools and techniques over the past three years. Farmers were able to try new tools and see tools in action before spending big money on new investments. “This (equipment workshop) was really helpful. I am glad I got to try those tools before I went out and bought them,” said a recent participant in equipment workshops.

To view videos click here.

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