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To mechanize or not to mechanize, that is the question

There are a couple distinct ways of approaching one’s small farm business. One approach is to buy all the snazzy equipment right away and assume it will eventually pay for itself in saved labor. Of course this doesn’t always pan out. Some examples of such luxurious small farm tools include new tractors and tillers, snazzy flail mowers and finger weeder implements, paperpot seeders for the fields (look it up, they’re trending on small farms), the vacuum seeder for the propagation house (also fun to google), and the greens harvester to cut salad without bending over (yet again, mr. internet will answer your questions), etc. to infinity and beyond. I don’t know if you know this about us, but we are not those kind of farmers. We are proudly scrappy, making sure a new tool is beyond well-earned before making an investment. After digging over 5,000 feet of potatoes in our first seven years, we decided we’d earned a potato digger. (Could’ve made that minor purchase a couple of years sooner to save the ol backaroo!) After 9 years on a tractor from the 60s and saving up our parsnip pennies, we figured we were due for a tractor with 4WD and some legit horse power. Mighty helpful when driving around in soggy springs! Twelve years in, we deemed ourselves worthy of a grown-up propagation house for our plant babies rather than two hilariously cramped, gardener sized start houses. Until we know for sure a farm addition is really, definitely going to improve efficiency and financially payoff, we hold off. So out we go to the fields to transplant by hand, knowing it’s the right move, at least for us.