Here are the winners of our simple time-savers and efficiencies contest, which we announced in the June 2011 issue of our free email newsletter. If you don't currently receive the email, click on the banner above to return to the home page and sign up in the right column. More contests will be announced in upcoming issues.

Thanks to everyone who submitted ideas. The winners will all receive a brand-new book of their choice from our stock.

timesaversTrellising device
Emily, from Laughing Stalk Farmstead in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, brings us the Tomato Stick, a device that simplifies and speeds up the trellising of tomatoes.  Her instructions on how to create your own are as follows:
1.  Drill two holes at each end of a wooden stake (a.k.a Tomato Stick).
2.  Pull twine through the bottom hole up through the top hole.  
3.  Tie the loose end of your twine to your first fence post in the row. (the other end of your twine will be your roll of twine)
4.  Use the Tomato Stick to guide the twine around your tomato plants.  
5.  When you get to the end of your row use the excess twine that you have pulled along to weave around the plants in the opposite direction.
Be sure to check out the video tutorial she included!

Plastic scoops
Bob from the Busti Cider Mill in Jamestown, New York, saves some change by making homemade scoops from plastic jugs.  Be sure to use a heavier plastic jug, such as a bleach or vinegar jug. Be careful with those scissors!


And, voila, a scoop that you won't be distressed about running over with the car!

Seeding flats
Finally, Maria at Lyonsville Valley Farm in Colrain, Massachusetts, has a tip to save you some major time while seeding flats.  Maria takes a piece of plywood a little bigger than the flat, and hammers nails partway into the plywood, in just the right intervals to line up with the flat.timesavers

Maria then lays the plywood on the flat, and uses as much pressure as she needs to make the divots the ideal depth.  Once the plywood is removed, seeds can easily be added to the flat.  timesavers

Again, thank you to everyone who was willing to share their ideas on how to save some time and money around the farm.  Stay tuned for next month's contest!