HOMEGROWN Life: What Planet Are You From?
With Earth Day right around the corner, I figured I’d write a bit about a very special planet to me: my Planet Jr.
Invented before the turn of the twentieth century, I consider the Planet Jr. (and other similarly-styled wheel-hoes) to be one of the most revolutionary agricultural inventions in history besides the tractor.
Constantly researching tools and implements, Justin started getting interested in wheel-hoes last fall. He started searching local swap meets, Craigslist, eBay, and other sites for one (or more) to purchase. We’ve since acquired a couple Planet Jr.’s. A little rough around the edges when we bought them used, Justin’s since given them makeovers, and they look good as new.
The beautiful thing about the Planet Jr. is that it relies on manpower, not fossil fuels. While many growers and gardeners rely on gas-powered tractors or tillers, the Planet Jr. can cultivate almost endlessly based on the push of the person standing behind it.
Not only is the man-powered Planet Jr. a sustainable choice for cultivation, but it’s also a sound choice. Literally. As in, push power means there’s no motorized engine adding to our urban setting’s already high level of noise pollution. (There’s something deeply displeasing about the roar of lawnmowers, weed-eaters, and other gizmos in the warm-weather months.)
If you’re in the market for people-powered garden machinery, consider wheel-hoes like the Planet, Jr. Not only can you find plenty of people selling them online, but there’s also an entire blog dedicated to helping people design and construct their own wheel-hoes.
“I’m half of YellowTree Farm, an urban homestead that I founded with my husband in late 2008. Together, we grow vegetables and raise animals on less than 1/10 of an acre in St. Louis, Missouri. I don’t have children. I have animals, which is kind of the same thing as being a parent, except I eat my babies.”