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PLANTING ORGANIC MAINE CERTIFIED SEED POTATOES ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. This week we made good progress planting o


PLANTING ORGANIC MAINE CERTIFIED SEED POTATOES ON WOOD PRAIRIE FAMILY FARM. This week we made good progress planting our crop of Organic Maine Certified Seed Potatoes.

The ground started out a little on the wet side due to recent rains totaling 2 ½”. So, for awhile we had to use a chain and a second tractor to pull the planter tractor through low, wet soil on the uphill pass.

However, soon the sun, wind and 80oF temps dried things out. While planting Thursday, we got caught at the far end of the field in a heavy, sudden down pour which soaked us to the bone. But yesterday it had dried out and we were back to planting.

In this photo, Jim is driving the Oliver 1750 Diesel tractor. Working on the back of the farm-fabricated ‘Tuber Unit Potato Planter’ and cutting whole greensprouted seed tubers are Peter, Amy, Sandra and Justin.

We plant two rows at a time. Teams of two people work one row and alternate cutting seed pieces with mounted seed knives. They then lay those seed pieces sequentially onto a segmented conveyor belt which deposits them into the furrow in the soil.

Our approach is a mechanized version of an old-time hand “Tuber Unit Planting” technique for growing seed. All the daughter seed pieces from a single mother tuber are planted together as a ‘Tuber Unit.’ How we plant is slower than conventional planting, but the big benefit is superior ability to remove an entire tuber unit afflicted with Potato Virus come roguing time in July.

We didn’t invent the idea for this mechanized Tuber Unit Planter. A skilled seed potato grower in Glassville, New Brunswick, built the first one. After checking his machine out, we came back and fabricated one ourselves. That was over 30 years ago. The current planter in the photo is the third Tuber Unit Planter we’ve made.

Caleb, Jim & Megan




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