Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:02 pm

Hey everyone I'm new to this site and tractor cultivation in general. Our farm just purchased our neighbor's property so we're looking at doubling our vegetable production acreage to about 10 acres total. We just got a 1950 Cub and a separate set of cultivators with about 8 shanks, plus rear. They look to be from several different cultivator setups.

Anyway we are looking to use the cub and hopefully the cultivator toolbar to work our garden with 1/2/3 rows per raised bed. We've got our tires moved out and are using a buckeye tractor bed shaper to make our beds about 40" wide. We would like to set up a couple of different cultivators with shovels and (beet) knives to get close to direct-seeded crops. We have a CSA and do a lot of greens throughout the year, as well as any other vegetable crop you can imagine.

Does anyone here use a similar setup they can post pictures of? Or know of a supplier for different clamps ,shanks, and standards that work well with the cub? Any guidance would be appreciated


Re: Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:19 pm

perhaps i should elaborate - we have a 144 style cultivator

it looks like maybe what we need is really a 252 cultivator? any thoughts?

Re: Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:47 pm

you should be able to do what you want with the 144

Re: Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:11 am


G'day and congrats :applause: to you on both acquiring your very 1st new to you Cub and of course on acquiring the land next door. You will find out pretty quick that Cubs are very very addictive.

Suggest you follow the links below, spend some time read the Owner's Manual for your Cub and the Cub-144 Cultivator Manual. Become familiar with it via the manuals, then compare manual and Cub/equipment.

Image to :big smile: Forum Family. And you have come to the right place for all things Cub related. If you click on the Site Rules, Regulations, & Important Information, it will point you to :arrow: the Welcome Wagon wherein you will find links to many useful sites and topics. One of which is the Cub Manual Server. Enjoy!.

Also, check out the CBoK at the link above. There are articles on cultivating and plowing etc., with your Cub. Along with the manuals these articles will help you a lot.

Re: Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:41 am

patchworkgardens wrote:perhaps i should elaborate - we have a 144 style cultivator

it looks like maybe what we need is really a 252 cultivator? any thoughts?

We grow over thirty varieties of veggies. Our cub is set up wit 44 inches clear space between the tires and we make 44 inch wide beds. many of our veggies are grown in multiple rows per bed such as broccoli, cabbage, etc. We do not have a 252 setup. Wis we did because the 144 is not real useful for multiple rows. Actually we haven't used it for that. Its been mulches and hoeing. There is a guy making buddinton basket weeders to fit the cub

If we could find and afford a 252 we would use it. On the other hand we are lookin at other options like winter killed cover crops as mulch etc

just a quick comment from of our experiences

Re: Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:03 pm

You're off to a great start! I think the Cub is the best tractor out there for this sort of thing. It's got the belly mount and offset engine, and it can have a rear lift too. A couple years ago I grew 4 acres for market, mostly on plastic mulch but some with the Cub. This season I'm growing two acres for wholesale, all with the cub and cultivation implements of my own design. The cub's got all the capability to do everything I want, though I find it's not perfect "out of the box" for a modern vegetable farmer, since it was designed for the old-school commodity farmer. Changing implements takes undoing lots of bolts, and that's slow and annoying. I'm making rear and belly 3-pt hitches with modern pins to get around that. And the 144 cults are meant for row-crops, a single row down the middle, with the two inner standards adjusting in+out based on what's good for your corn etc at that point in the season, not for vegetable beds.

Basically, you probably want a belly-mounted toolbar, and attach whatever tools you want to it for your 3-row system, you could make up a toolbar for that pretty easily. Track sweeps in the rear to keep the aisles clean.

What tools you want depends on how detailed a system you want to have, and want to pay attention to, and what your soil's like, and how much labor for hand-weeding you have. Most basic would be 4 sweeps (solid standards or c-shanks) on one toolbar for a 3-row bed. Less fiddling, less cost, and less effective than fancier tools -- but maybe smart to go simple the first year and then see what problems you have to fix for later with a more detailed system. Whatever you do, do it consistently and often, and don't miss your chance when the soil's perfect and crumbly after a rain -- at least, my soil gets crusty if left too long in the hot sun, and then it shatters rather than crumbles.

The trouble is getting close to the plants; when they're small you're in danger of burying them with sweeps, and then weeds grow in the uncultivated strip beside the seedlings. I'm a fan of the basket weeder (and I made one of those too, because Buddingh's are super expensive) -- it cultivates shallow and doesn't throw much soil, so you can get closer to small plants. But then the basket weeder gets too wide for large plants. If I had just one tool though I'd take a basket weeder.

Stalebedding/bare fallow is a HUGE help, it kills weeds before you plant the crop. A tine weeder or basket weeder setup for that, or even in a pinch light discs or a field cultivator run shallow, but you really don't want to disturb much soil and bring up more weed seeds.

I'm planning--
shape bed
stalebed for a few weeks
mark beds with the cub
seed with a push seeder (Jang)
really soon, basket weeder for between rows with some light tools for getting as close as possible to plants
basket weeder, for between rows
(maybe tine weeding, for getting in-row weeds, once the crop is tall enough to stand it)
sweeps, since the standards can fit down between the crop canopy, and the sweeps do some hilling to bury weeds next to tall crop plants

Rear track sweeps as necessary or when conditions are good.

Lots of implement changes, so, modern hitches are a super help!

Have something in mind to cultivate the sloped edges of the raised beds, and the wheeltracks. I like c-shanks or s-tines for the wheeltracks, they get into my firmer soil better and shatter it, where the sweeps (like on spring-trip standards) just dig up chunks. But if you have lighter soil sweeps would probably be great.

I haven't found a good source for new standards and things, best probably is keeping an eye out on the for-sale section here. Or tractor yards nearby, or auctions -- I just got 20 standards at an auction off a 4-row row-crop cultivator, which will hold me for a while!

I apologize if this is too basic and you know it already -- but a good starting point I suppose. Feel free to PM me if you want more details, I don't know what's useful to you.


Re: Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:00 pm

It sounds like you DavidG have a ton of cultivating experience. Could you give us some details on stale bedding and bare fallow?

We are always looking for options for weed control without herbicides.

Thanks, Thackery

Re: Multiple row vegetable cultivation.

Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:23 pm

Thanks, Thackery. I've done some things successfully, though I sure don't have as much experience as a farmer who's been cultivating vegetables for years. But I like figuring out better machinery for the tasks I want to do. And I'm a big fan of stalebedding. I've seen it work well and especially in the fall, when it reduced my cultivation to one pass with a wheel hoe or basket weeder.

The theory is that weeds only germinate from the top couple inches (or less?) of the soil. And so after you've tilled, the number of weed seeds hanging out in the top level of soil is fixed, and they'll all want to germinate assuming water and temperature are right. If you seed your crop immediately, they'll germinate into your crop. But if you wait for weeds to germinate, then kill them all, and THEN plant your crop, there are fewer weed seeds left to germinate into your crop.

Trouble is you don't want to stir the soil too deeply while killing the weeds, because that brings up new weed seeds that used to be buried too deep to germinate. You can water your bare ground (watering the weeds!) so you get more weeds to kill, or put rowcover over the soil to warm it up and germinate more seeds, or do a few stalebedding passes over a few weeks to kill a few successions of weeds -- anything you can do that germinates and then kills weeds before you put your crop in means there's fewer weeds growing in your crop.

While there are particular tools to scuffle the top of the soil without stirring it too deeply, I think it's more important to kill the weeds that do exist rather than worry about if you're working too deeply and bringing up additional weed seeds. So if all you've got is a spring-tooth harrow -- or even discs -- set it shallow and kill every little weed you can. Oh, I should make a point to say that the idea is to kill the weeds when they're TINY and die easily, like, when it feels pointless because you think there aren't many of them there. But they ARE there.

Tools that might work well depending how crusted or crumbly your soil is, or how fine a seedbed you have/want -- basket-style weeder covering the whole bed (I use this, it works 100%, might be overkill, though it leaves a great seedbed), tine weeder, probably a chain or spike-tooth harrow would work too if your soil's light. Or whatever you have around.

Or a flame weeder, which is commonly used with carrots. Since carrots take so darn long to emerge and many weeds have germinated by the time the carrots even think of coming up, flame weeding right before the carrots emerge kills the weeds that are above ground, so that when the carrots come up they come up into a clean bed. Not that more weeds won't grow later, but at least the crop has a head start...