How to dig potatoes with a walk-behind tractor
Growing a rich harvest of quality potatoes is only half the battle. After that, it is important to properly harvest the mature tubers. It's hard to dig up potatoes by hand, so many people use a walk-behind tractor. This method is much easier and faster, convenient for large areas.
The content of the article
- Advantages and disadvantages of digging potatoes with a walk-behind tractor
- How to properly set up a walk-behind tractor for digging potatoes
- Varieties of potato diggers
- Choosing a walk-behind tractor and its parameters
- How to dig potatoes with a walk-behind tractor
- Tips & Tricks
Advantages and disadvantages of digging potatoes with a walk-behind tractor
Many gardeners prefer to use walk-behind tractors, but not all. One of the main reasons is the large number of damaged tubers after harvesting. However, this happens only with the inept use of the walk-behind tractor and its incorrect setting.
Despite the high percentage of defects, this technique has many advantages:
- The design of walk-behind tractors is simple enough to understand their control in a short time. The main part of the cultivator is the potato digger, which consists of an upper fan and a plow.
- Setting up a walk-behind tractor for digging potatoes is easy even for people with minimal experience. To reduce the number of damaged tubers, adjust the depth to which the plow will enter the soil.
- Labor costs are greatly reduced, since it is enough only to operate the equipment.
- The speed of processing the site increases several times when compared to manual digging of vegetables.
The main disadvantage of using a walk-behind tractor is its high cost. Therefore, the device is usually purchased only if large areas have to be processed annually. If the plot for potatoes does not exceed 2-3 acres, the purchase of a walk-behind tractor will be unprofitable.
How to properly set up a walk-behind tractor for digging potatoes
Before you start harvesting your potato digger, it is important to set it up. When regulating, special attention is paid to the plow, which is responsible for digging out the tubers.
First of all, adjust the depth to which the plow will sink into the soil. The minimum depth is the length of one shovel bayonet. If it is made smaller, the cultivator will damage the tubers during digging.
Reference. The depth is adjusted with bolts that are located between the plow tine and the lock. After loosening them, the plow can be easily moved down or up.
The next step is to adjust the angle of inclination of the field board relative to the soil surface. To do this, use a screw handle. It is twisted until the board lies on the ground, and then twisted in the opposite direction so that the back part rises about 3 cm above the ground.
Varieties of potato diggers
A nozzle for digging tubers onto a walk-behind tractor is bought together with the main device or made independently.
The first option assumes high quality, the second allows you to save a lot.
There are 2 main types of factory models:
- Simple walk-behind tractor... It is based on a nozzle in the form of a shovel, on the edges of which there are teeth. While digging into the ground, the shovel pokes the tubers. The removed potatoes fall on the prongs, which throw them to the side. This is a simple and convenient design.
- Complicated mini tractor... This type includes screening and vibration models - towing devices that have their own wheels, bucket and control levers. The bucket collects the tubers and sends them to the vibrating grate, where they are cleared of large lumps of dirt.
The walk-behind tractor is used for almost all types of work in the garden, having installed suitable attachments on it.A motor-cultivator is used only for soil cultivation.
The manufacture of devices allows you to significantly save money and individually select the characteristics of the potato digger.
To do it yourself, perform the following actions:
- A rectangle is welded from a square pipe, which will act as a base.
- Cut a piece of square pipe, the length of which is half the length of the frame. The basis for the traction structure is made of it.
- On the opposite side of the frame, an axle for the wheels is welded.
- A sheet of metal is made into a ral and welded to the bottom of the frame. So that it normally sinks into the soil, the metal is ground off on one side.
- At the same level, a pitched board is attached. For its manufacture, 10 metal rods are fixed on a plate and fixed on the frame.
After completing these steps, the base of the simplest potato digger will be ready. Each summer resident upgrades the device for himself.
It is interesting:
Choosing a walk-behind tractor and its parameters
The technique speeds up the collection of vegetables, even in small areas. On potato plantations, you simply cannot do without it.
Buying a walk-behind tractor saves the gardener from hiring a tractor for plowing annually. The main thing is to choose the right device.
Strong or weaker
The more powerful the device, the more productive it is, but more expensive. Light equipment is much more maneuverable, therefore it is convenient for processing small areas.
The table shows the dependence of the power of the device on the size of the garden:
|Plot size||Motoblock power, hp from.||Capture width, cm|
|up to 50 ares||4||80|
|up to 2 ha||6||90|
|up to 5 hectares||9||100|
It is advisable to choose a device with a small power reserve. The engine will last longer if not overloaded. It is important to consider the type of soil you will be working on.
For different types of land, choose a device with a suitable weight:
- for light soils - 50–70 kg;
- for clayey - 80–120 kg;
- for large fallow areas - 120–150 kg.
How to dig potatoes with a walk-behind tractor
Before harvesting, the site is cleared of debris, all grass is removed and fallen leaves are removed.
How to remove tubers
After adjusting the plow, a test pass is made:
- Only a few meters walk along the row with a walk-behind tractor.
- They collect potatoes and examine them carefully. If the equipment is set up correctly, the tubers will not be damaged.
- If cut and shabby potatoes are found, the depth of the digger's stroke is increased. Re-pass and check the dug out tubers again.
Some gardeners do not want to waste time setting up equipment. It is they who complain that the walk-behind tractor spoils the crop. Correct adjustment ensures easy handling.
After passing the walk-behind tractor, all the potatoes rise to the soil surface and are harvested by hand.
Walk-throughs with a walk-behind tractor are performed through a row: first, odd rows are processed, then even ones. This is done so that the dug tubers caught in the distance between the rows are not damaged by the wheels of the walk-behind tractor.
Important! If you dig up the potatoes row by row, the technique will begin to lead to the side, it will become difficult to hold it.
If the work is done correctly, a walk-behind tractor with a potato digger allows you to process up to 6 acres of land in 1 hour. It takes no more than 20 minutes to dig, then the potatoes are harvested by hand. This is an approximate time, as it directly depends on the number of people who are involved in cleaning.
Tips & Tricks
In order for the potato digger to cope normally with the tasks set, they adhere to the following recommendations:
- Be sure to carry out the adjustment before starting work.
- The power of the device should be sufficient, especially when it is used for large areas.
- The size of the digger is selected so that it matches the size of the walk-behind tractor. If it is too large, it will damage the crop.
- To minimize losses, make a test pass and adjust the immersion depth.
Digging up potatoes is a very laborious task that gardeners have to face. Therefore, to simplify the work, a walk-behind tractor is used.
It is important to correctly adjust the angle and depth of the plow, otherwise the crop will be damaged. The technique is selected depending on the cultivated area and the type of soil.