Garden For Nutrition Index
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Tools & Equipment

Mowers Wheel Hoe Seeders Transplanters Roller Crimpers Weeders Hand Tools Hay Tree Harvesting Wood Chipping Mills Nut Cracking Animal Feed Mills Grinders General Information

If you are starting out with a small operation, but hoping to grow, it is important to use tools and techniques which are scalable. Sustainable agriculture is both regenerative and profitable by using as little equipment as possible with reduced external inputs to lower financial risk. It will be high residue with constant root growth and mixed plantings. Animals will be an integral part of the crop rotation scheme. Some equipment may not be very compatible with this paradigm and therefore get low levels of usage, such as flame weeders, rototillers, manure spreaders, hay balers, etc. Expenses can also minimized by growing the right crop, in the right place, at the right time. This reduces the need for greenhouses, tunnels, covers, etc. Even cold frames are kept to a minimum. Only buy enough equipment to grow your own vegetables (and have a little for display), store a small amount of hay, and move water for animals. Forage fed animals are the lowest risk form of small scale commercial agriculture.



Sickle mowers are the best for cutting forage and preserving the cell structure. And the risk is very low that they will harm beneficial insects.

Flail mowers are good for laying down a cover crop that is too thick and rigid to roll. Unfortunately, the cell structures are so damaged that the organic matter decays quickly. Also, be sure to go slow so the beneficial insects in the soil have time to retreat. Beneficial insects can be sucked into the mower.

Earth Tools BCS

Wheel Hoe:

A wheel hoe is useful to cut a strip for a seeding row. It is useful to reduce weeds whenever mulching is not worth the effort or is inadequate. The use of a wheel hoe should be limited to shallow disruption so as to limit exposing soil carbon to oxidation. A low level of weeds can actually be healthy.

Hoss Tools
Valley Oak Tools


Punch planters or rolling jab planters can be used to plant seed through mulch. Punch planters create the least disturbance of the mulch so it helps to prevent weed emergence. Unfortunately, they do not work well in thick clay soils. Broadcasting a cover crop allows for rolling down the bio-mass in any direction. Then it does not matter which direction you plant, as long as the punch planter has a somewhat pointed tip.

Haraka rotary punch planter - simple so more reliable
Eden Equip
Ferris Farm - rotary punch planters, made in the USA, manual and tractor drawn

The Jang JP-1 is an excellant choice for small seeds. The Jang TD-1 is good if you are planting larger seeds. This seeder will plant through some residue, but not a lot.

Woodward - Jang Seeder JP-1

Johnnys - Jang Seeder JP-1

A disc opener for the Jang seeder is available for higher residue planting but it still will not plant through a lot of residue.

Johnny's Seeds - double disc opener

The Knapik is slightly better for high residue in certain situations, but harder to get.

Knapik web site
Knapik design

The important thing about seed planters is that most farmers only need one or two large seed punch planter settings since planting small seed through organic mulch seldom works. And they usually only need one or two small seed non-punch planter settings since most small seeded plants are transplanted.

When broacasting seed into a high residue bed, a rolling cultivator can be used to work the seed in without catching on the residue.

Corona Disc Cultivator


A punch has the least disturbance of mulch.

Johnny's - jab transplanter
Agri Store - PulmiPlanter

A shank leaves exposed soil for weeds to emerge so it is not the preferred method.

USDA - transplanter with shank

Roller Crimpers:

A roller crimper for the market size garden. Unfortunately, foregoing a crop in order to produce a rollable mulch is not always feasible.

Earth Tools - BCS roller crimper
Rear mounted roller crimper


Lay down weeders - a great tool for weeding and transplanting.

Wunda Weeder
Electric prone weeder
Lay down weeder

Hand Tools:

Hand tools

Corona Disc Cultivator


It is important to reduce hay usage as much as possible. This hay rake and scoop can cheaply allow small amounts of hay to be windrowed and then scooped into a barn.

EarthtoolsBCS - hay rake
EarthtoolsBCS - hay scoop

Hay was originally baled so it could be sold and transported. If you are not selling the hay, that is a huge expense that can be avoided. Fuel and machinary can be greatly reduced.

Laying up loose hay.
Loose Hay Barn

Tree Harvesting:

Full size trees provide additional disease resistance and longer life. But harvesting can be difficult.

Smart Net Systems
Fruit and nut catching net
FAO - simple cheap harvesting techniques for full size trees

Wood Chipping:

Wood chipping off a PTO for coppicing.

BCS - wood chipper attachment


Lehman's - grain mill
eOrganic - grain dehullers
Country Living Grain Mill - grain mill
Pleasant Hill Grain - grain mill
Brill Engineering - rice hulling

Nut Cracking:

Automatic Nut Cracker - small heavy duty

Cronut - hand cranked nut cracker
Turcobazaar - small semi industrial sheller
Patriot - industrial cracker

Animal Feed Mills:

Ebay - Animal feed mills
Strombergs Chickens - Animal feed


Be sure to dry bones in the sun awhile to make them brittle before grinding.

Make your own hammer mill
Impact mill
Restored hammer mill

General Information:

Earth Tools - market garden scale equipment
NCAT - Tools for Small-Scale Crop Production
Univ of Missouri - no-till planting systems
Virginia No-till - equipment modifications
Push seeder comparison
Seeder comparison
No-till vegetable examples
eOrganic - tools for planting into mulch
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