Farm Calls: Raised Bed Mulch Layers for High Tunnels

This week a small-farm grower contacted us.

“We own high tunnels and needed information about making beds. Searching the web we found your Rutgers High Tunnels Construction website. It is a great site. I am particularly interested in the bed maker ya’ll used. What brand was it and what was the cost? Knowledge about farm equipment in tunnels seems few and far between.”

High Tunnels can benefit farms of all sizes through season extension and better quality crops. Rutgers County Agent Wes Kline owns and uses compact, raised bed mulch layers specially manufactured for the narrow rows and tight spaces found in high tunnels. The Nolt’s Model RB436 is the most compact we know of in our region for this application.

Teflon bed shaper makes crowned 20" wide 4" high bed.

Teflon bed shaper makes crowned 20″ wide 4″ high bed.

This model handles only 3′ plastic mulch. It makes a crowned 20″ wide, 4″ high bed. The Teflon lined bed shaper feature, shown at the right, on our well-used model (with an optional drip layer attachment), aids in preparing domed smooth firm beds.

This feature, together with the compact frame size, combine to offer a bed making mulch layer which can be pulled with a tractor as small as 23-25 HP with a 3-point hitch.

On a compact frame, Nolt's manages to fit independent spring loaded press wheels and large cover disks.

On a compact frame, Nolt’s manages to fit independent
spring loaded press wheels and large cover disks.

The Nolt’s raised bed mulch layers have independent spring loaded press wheels, which properly tighten the plastic over the bed.  Large independent spring loaded disks throw soil over the edges of the plastic.

Nolt’s also offer a larger, heavier (but still compact) model that can lay 3′ and 4′ plastic requiring a larger 30-35 HP tractor. You can find Nolt’s Produce Supplies in Leola, PA and online, along with their prices and catalog.

Farm Calls: Which fruit crops are best suited for Pick-Your-Own?
Farm Calls: Evidence-Based Agriculture and Full Moon Frosts