Our goal is living sustainably at ASPI. Although you will find that we like gathering wild edibles (greens, flowers, branches, and more. . . not only the morel-kind – though they are delicious), we also like our technology. True, we build a lot of it ourselves: Remember – there is a FREE solar pump workshop Monday, May 4th, 6-8 p.m. at our offices at 50 Lair Street, Mt. Vernon. We’ll also discuss grants to help pay for the supplies! See previous post, FB, or our website www.a-spi.org for details.

We do purchase some pre-made, already-assembled tech and tools -and here is our 1-year old electric tiller:_20150430_095052

Because we use solar power for the electricity at our office, this is a very green choice – we don’t have any fuel cost at all. One charge lasts nearly an hour. It is small – our participants can put it in a small car. You can go between almost any rows without disturbing the plants. It is easy-to-use and maneuver – even in a high tunnel. One of my favorite things is how quiet it is. I can use it and still listen for the kids.



_20150430_095228There are some downsides: This is a small tiller – it cannot be used to break up new ground. It is great for running between potato rows, then re-running at an angle to hill up the taters. It is good to till short cover crop in loose soil – large cover crop would have to be be chopped and raked first. If tilling plant matter, the plants will gather between the tines – this doesn’t stop the tiller, but does make it less effective. It is however, easy to clean out – each side of the axle has a lynch pin – simply pull out and slide off the weeds and the tines, and then replace the tines.

Sarah and I really like our cute, little tiller. It automatically stops when the hand bar is released and is so much easier to maneuver that we feel better about the safety in lending it out to first-time gardeners.