Tractor drawn basket weeder
Let’s take a look at the basket weeder. For those of you unfamiliar with the tool, the basket weeder has rolling baskets (doh) made of 1/4 inch spring steel shaped somewhat like a flat whip for a kitchen mixer. A number of these baskets are attached to a frame structure and configured for different custom uses. The baskets can be anywhere between 2″ and 14″ wide, can be flat, slant, angled or off-set, and spaced across the frame multiple ways.
As the weeder moves down the bed, the 2 to 1 gearing spins the baskets at twice the forward motion and they dig about an inch into the soil. It’s a handy tool providing you have the right configuration for your crop spacing. Plus it only works well if you have small weeds and friable soil. Don’t try this in mud or crusted soil but hey, weeds never grow in those soil conditions. There are tons of different configurations but each can add to an already expensive tool. By the way, you need a tractor to pull it, at all of about 4 miles per hour.
The basket weeder is a great piece of specialized equipment and if spending lots of capital is on your list, we recommend getting one. At Carts and Tools we have a alternative that might interest you.
Tillie as a basket weeder substitute
Tillie works extremely well as a single-row substitute for a basket weeder. The electric hub motor has an almost flat torque band. That means at very slow speeds it has about the same power as running full speed. The halo throttle allows you to precisely control the speed, meaning slow revolutions are easy to maintain. The tines are designed not to dig like most cultivators but rather cut.
With Tillie, you can walk along your bed, with the tines turning slightly faster than your forward progress, and really do a number on emerging weeds. The tines are 6 inches wide which allows you to easily get in between crops. The flexible design, with the motor inside the tines, allows you to weed the side of the bed as well. Yes, you have to make more passes, but you can cultivate as fast as you can walk, and walking is better for you anyways.
As an added bonus, the tine design means you don’t need optimum soil conditions. Crusted soil or mud won’t make a difference, you just adjust your walking speed and the speed of Tillie. Have some long stemmed weeds mixed in? No problem, Tillie will cut them off, unlike a basket weeder. Tillie is available with an offset head design as an upgrade. This improves your ability to walk in the row and yet cultivate down the middle of the bed.
Tillie is battery powered, costs about $.15 to recharge, and has swappable battery packs. There is virtually no vibration and even less noise. Do you have hoop houses with electricity? We can set you up with a 110V adapter so you can plug in and go all day. Tillie has a lot more to offer than just weed control so take a look at our videos.