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paper pot transplanter

Posted: April 26 2012

Have you tried it yet? Here is a description from the folks who sell it at www.smallfarmworks.com
The paper chain pot transplanting system is a unique, ingenious, and highly efficient means to transplant vegetables, flowers and herbs. It is unlike any transplanter used in the US or Europe. It has no motor and is pulled by hand. It allows a single person to transplant as many as 264 plants in less than a minute. This is accomplished while standing upright thus eliminating countless hours spent kneeling, crawling, or stooping.
The system relies on planting into paper pots that are in a chain. Because the pots are in a chain, they feed themselves through the transplanter. A new flat of paper pots comes compressed and is opened using a set of metal opening rods and a frame. The most common paper pot flats have 264 cells. Seeding a paper pot flat can be done by hand but seeders are available that seed an entire flat at a time.
Once the seedlings are ready to be transplanted and soil prepared, the transplanter is pulled into a bed to begin creating a furrow. A tray of seedlings is placed on the transplanter platform and one end of the paper pot chain is pulled down into the furrow. A narrow metal stake is inserted through the first cell into the soil to secure the start of the paper chain. Then the transplanter is pulled down the bed and all the seedlings go into the ground, one after the other. Small metal flanges at the rear of the transplanter push soil over the paper pots and packing wheels tamp the soil.
The paper pot system is ideally suited to closely spaced crops, especially onions, leeks, scallions, and shallots. This is because in-row spacing is determined by the length of the paper chain connecting each cell. Currently, paper chain pots are available that result in 2 inch, 4 inch and 6 inch in-row spacing. The system also works very well for spinach, various Asian greens, and many types of cut flowers. Other crops that can be grown include chard, kohlrabi, basil, cilantro, beets, turnips, corn, peas, beans, and lettuce. By skipping cells, it is also possible to plant crops like broccoli and kale at a 12 inch spacing.  Some people have even successfully transplanted carrots.

The paper chain pot system was invented in Japan and is currently being imported to North America by Small Farm Works (www.smallfarmworks.com).  A video of the transplanter in action can be viewed at our web site.  A video demonstrating how to open, fill, and seed the paper pot flats is also available on the ‘Products’ page of the website. The system works best in lighter, loose soil that “flows” well such as is typically used for direct seeding. Thus, a rotovated bed is ideal.
The paper chain pot transplanting system is an economical option for vegetable growers because it can substantially reduce labor costs. It allows one person to accomplish large tasks far quicker and easier.  It also enables hoophouse growers to expand the number of plantings in a season (due to transplanting normally direct seeded crops). Another benefit is achieving higher density stands of crops that germinate better in controlled conditions (in a greenhouse of germination chamber) rather than field conditions.
For more information, contact John Hendrickson at [email protected] or 920-927-7362 or N1749 Yerges Road, Reeseville, WI 53579.

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