Over the years. I have talked about solar panelled self-driven bed weeder machines.
Some of these machines have solar panelled batterie power for drive, and others just a small petrol driven engine.
You can look them up on u tube under lazy bed weeder, Riverford organics down south have one on u tube working.
I have looked into buying one, but even second hand they are a whopping £10,000.
The main reason for thinking about investing in one, is that it will save a huge amount of tractor hrs and diesel. In the summer months when it’s hand weeding time, the tractor is pulling along the bed weeder machine, for months through the summer.
When the tractor is pulling the bed weeder along, we are using its creeper gearbox, if the weeds are bad it can take around two hrs to do 200 meters, that gives you an idea of how slow the tractor can go if needed.
Going at this speed is very bad for a engine, and we will still use around 70 litres of diesel a week, we also have 4 people on the bed weeder, but one is always in the tractor keeping it in a straight line, this is very boring, so we have a 10 minute rota system going, and we all move round and only spend 10 minutes at a time in the tractor.
There is no tractor with a self-driven bed weeder so we will only need 3 people weeding.
But £10,000 is a lot of money and it would take years to get that back.
Two years ago, I had converted an old implement into and sit on planter, that gets towed along behind the tractor for planting the Courgettes and Squash crops, so this implement I thought could be converted to a bed weeder and still be used to plant the courgettes and Squash plants.
So last Thursday, I brought the Courgette planter in, and set about it with the grinder and welder.
By the end of the day, I had the frame all grinded up and re welded back into the mane body for our bed weeder. I had an old petrol engine; this is now bolded in the rear and will give us the drive.
This week I will hopefully have a roof on and side curtains, and I still have to figure out how to arrange the steering of it.
At the moment it has four wheels that are fixed, the rear wheels are getting replaced with wheels 6 inches larger, so we can get enough clearance above the crops when we weed, the front wheels will need to be able to move up and down depending on what crop we are in, so at the moment that’s a tricky one, but I have a couple of ideas.
I have posted photos of the progress so far on Facebook and on our blog on our web page, ill update the photos as I’m finishing hopefully next week.