Using the Paperpot Transplanter without Fins in Sandy, Loose Soil

In this blog series, we’ll be taking a few Paperpot Transplanter tips to make transplanting easier from farmer and Paperpot Co. Content Creator, Seth Davis. 

Seth has farmed on many different climates in many different contexts all across the US and Canada from Tennessee to California to Kelowna, BC, from heavy clay to sandy soils. Because of that, he has picked up a few Paperpot Transplanting tricks along the way. 

Planting Paper Chains Too Deep

Seth Davis ordered his Paperpot Transplanter when he started Winding Roads Farms in Petaluma, California. The plot was previously a cattle ranch, and while the ground was initially very compacted from grazing, it was very nitrogen-rich. The soil texture was extremely sandy and fluffy, and a little low on organic material. Coming from farming in Tennessee in heavy clay soils, it was definitely going to take some adjustment. 

When his Paperpot Transplanter arrived, he assembled the tool and left everything on factory preset. When it came time to transplant his first crop of Salanova lettuce, he immediately noticed that the paper chains were getting buried too deep into the soil.

Adjusting the Paperpot Transplanter to Control Planting Depth

After watching many videos and reading up on everything he could find on the issue, Seth found a few fixes that would hopefully help solve his problem.

The first fix said to lift up a little on the handle while pulling the transplanter. This small adjustment in operation would cause the plow underneath not to dig into the soil as deeply, creating a shallower trench for the transplants. It helped a little, but not too much. 

The next adjustment he found was to raise up the wheels under the handle of the transplanter. So he continued raising up the wheels until they were at their fully extended position and the plow was at its shallowest setting. Still, the transplants were getting buried. 

So, Seth moved on to the third fix which was to spread apart the fins at the end of the tool. He took a 10mm socket and loosened up the bolts and pulled the fins as far apart as possible. To be fair, the paper pots weren’t getting buried as deeply as they were the first time, but Seth still had to go back and brush off soil from some of the transplants that were still getting buried.

Removing the Fins from the Paperpot Transplanter

After the last fix, Seth just wanted to be done with it so he decided to remove the fins altogether.

Sure enough, the transplanter started working the way it should! The weight of the tamper wheels as they were running down the soil was just enough to push down the fluffy sandy loam to be level with the top of the paper chain, without burying the plant. 

Removing the fins was the perfect solution to Seth’s context. The only instance Seth has ever had to readjust his transplanter was when the soil had a little too much moisture in it at planting time. For the most part, he would just wait for the soil to dry out a little before running the Paperpot Transplanter.

Looking for more Paperpot hacks?

Learn about Using Skip Plates and Team Planting

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