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Happy Homesteading Series: Olde Tyme Plows

Posts: 4958
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I must say, I love my old 3 point hitch Dearborn Plow. Built in 1952, in its sixty seven year lifespan it has busted a lot of sod. The wonderful thing about it is, when Ford bought Dearborn out, they never changed the bolt hole pattern, so I can walk into my New Holland Dealership 67 years later and pull a plow share right off the shelf and bolt it on.

Today the plow gets a lot of bad press because of tillage, but a plow can have a lot of uses on a homestead.

A few years ago I was building a road, and to get the roadway elevated, and ditches formed, I would plow the ground on each side of the roadway, then using my tractor and front end loader, scoop the soil out and dump it in the roadway. I kept doing this, working up and down the roadway, slowly digging out the ditch and making the road base higher. Each time I had scooped out the loose soil, I would plow the area again and make my ditches deeper, and my roadway higher. I then leveled out the road base, added gravel and had a really nice road.

And the gravel...my gravel pit was hard to dig, so I put my plow on the back of my tractor as a makeshift ripper, as well as a counterweight for when my bucket is full of gravel. I would just loosen the area up with my plow first, then scoop up the loosened soil with my front end loader.

Another great use of the plow is in making swales. If a shallow, narrow swale is needed, the plow alone can do the work, but once again, just breaking up the sod, then shaping it with the front end loader of the tractor, or a grader blade will form a really nice swale.

Another use for the plow is installing silt fence. Just cut the sod, install the silt fence, then flop the sod back against the silt fence to be in EPA standards.

Along the same lines, a plow can be used to cut a ditch for a electrical line, underground fence wire (like going under a gate), or running propane lines, or drainage tile.

I have used my plow to cut the sod so that I can lay a garden hose to my garden, flopping the sod back over it, so all summer long I did not have to move my hose everytime I went to mow my lawn.

And of course I have used my plow to cut sod for crop rotating fields. Adding in lime or manure, and leveling fields or lawns. I plan on doing this to my lawn next spring, plowing it up and then grading the area smooth with my grader.


Overall they are one of the simpliest, cheapest implments a homesteader can get (around $700). The new ones are just as good as the older ones. I keep mine simply because it still works. For other homesteaders, the simple olde tyme plow just might work well as well.

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