My friend Ben manages a landscaping business and let me borrow his Kubota sub-compact tractor. I fell in love. What used to take me 4 hours of back-breaking manual labor could be done in 20 minutes at the helm of this beautiful machine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t persuade Ben to sell.
My brother-in-law once told me: “Don’t be one of those guys who waits 10 years to buy a tractor and then wishes he had bought one 10 years ago.” I’m inclined to agree. So I take with great seriousness the occasion of finding a tractor. But where do I start?
Have you ever been to a farm auction? If you don’t already know everything about the machine or implement you want to buy, including its fair market price, you might end up with a 6-ton paper weight.
There’s the local tractor dealer. But buying new just doesn’t seem right, especially when I won’t be production farming for a profit. Craigslist and classifieds leave me in a similar lurch as the farm auction. Since I’ve never owned a tractor, I don’t know which questions to ask the seller, or how to spot a lemon.
So that pretty much leaves the one option that works quite well, if you have the patience: word of mouth. I’ve started “putting the word out” to friends in the area. Apparently there’s a guy down the road that’s got a reputation for finding tractors. I’ve been assured he’s the one to talk to. Never would have known tractor hunting was a skill, but now I do because I know I don’t have it.
I’m used to being able to find everything I need on a store shelf. But it doesn’t work that way out here. They don’t sell tractors at The Home Depot. Out here, relationships are the cash crop.
After much deliberation, consideration, and consultation, we’ve settled on the following plans for our 2014 vegetable garden. For now.
In the big plot (25-foot E-W rows, in order from north to south):
In raised beds (front four)
In raised beds (back four)
Across from Raspberries
Back 10 (north-east area)