The Tinkering Farmer

Moving ahead by studying the past. Curtis Johns of Upper Sandusky, Ohio has built himself a small potato digger and he hopes to go into production soon. He fashioned it after a traditional design from spare and older parts to custom fit a category 0 or 1 three-point hitch on a tractor with M or more horsepower,

Johns' family and his daughter's family plant four or five acres of potatoes each year for their own personal use and a few more for sale. Such a large project called for something more than a potato hook with which to harvest, so he designed his own harvester. Johns is a tinkerer of the first degree, and the digger was by no means his first project. He has turned an old horse-drawn planter into a two-row corn planter and adapted a rotary hoe to the three-point hitch of his garden tractor.

The front blade of the digger is 15 inches wide to get the whole mound of potatoes and skims along under the ground. Potatoes slide up a drag chain onto shaking tines which ?ift the soil away. Then the potatoes roll back behind the digger onto the ground. The escalating chain and vibrating tines are powered by an independent 5 horsepower gasoline engine mounted on the rear end of the digger.

Curtis Johns' homemade potato digger.

Curtis Johns' homemade potato digger.

Homade Potatoe Diggers
Johns' digger al work.

One prerequisite of the digger is that it he used with a slow-gear tractor, one with a creeper gear if possible. Johns uses an Economy tractor; he is a dealer. In its lowest gear, the digger will harvest 300 feet of potatoes in 15 minutes. He is thinking of attaching a catch pan to collect the potatoes but, says Johns, "I prefer to let them fall on the ground and dry a little. They'll keep a lot better in storage."

Texas- Potato Digger

Angle iron, discarded coulters or discs, an old road grader blade, some round metal bars, a few scrap steel plates, and a few bolts are all thé necessary parts for building this potato digger.

It attaches to a three-point hydraulic lift. The design originated at the Texas Agricultural Extension Service of the Texas A & M University System.

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Texas Potato Digger

Texas Potato Digger

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