Does anyone have any experience with it, the coolbot, and if so what is your opinion ?
I don't have one, but I have looked into it. I have heard nothing but praises for them. Just buy the AC units that they recommend.
Ive read the same, was wanting some first hand knowledge, dont always believe the ads :0)
I installed one during the tail end of last year and it worked great. I kept my room around 45.
I did not have it running during the peak heat of the summer so can't speak to how it handles that (freeze ups?) or to it's longevity.
But setup and installation was a breeze.
fventura, how was your room set up, what were the dimensions, how was it insulated,hope I aint asking to many questions, just would like to know all I can.
Im still looking into it, it seems awful simple, maybe to simple. The price isnt bad, $300. I have a 10 X 16 out building, Im going to super insulate it and rewire it, this should be a good sized fridge. How much could a building this size hold, is shelves required or just pallets and stack the boxes? The add says it can get down to 32 F, but I figure anything below 38 would be good, but you wouldnt want tomatoes in there would you ?
NO NO tomatoes, they like between 50 and 70. If they go less than that you will get that 'grocery store'
James found a chart that tells you how to keep things, table 12, post harvest storage, page 19 of the ID56 from Purdue. www.btny.purdue.edu/pubs/id/id56/postharvesthandling.pdf.
If this link doesn't work, google ID56 and it will bring you to the book. Midwest Fruit and Vegetable Guide from Purdue.
Also don't plan on putting apples in your shed along with other items. The apples will cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen faster.
I would put some shelves, make them ventilated. You want to let the air circulate whenever possible. Even with 'refrigeration' you will still need to keep an eye on it. Plus you might want to put an temperature alarm on it. We had a friend with 5 freezers of meat that they grew, one day 3 of the 5 went out without them knowing. BAD meat and massive loss of profits. They had a visual alarm and now they wish they had spent the extra money on a audible alarm also.
For the auction, keep in mind that there are some buyers (me) that will not buy produce that has been cooled because we don't have the facilities to cool it back down when we get home. I'm sure it will work for items that NEEDS to be cooled, but personally I don't cool. Last year, I did put green beans in the frig, but I turned the frig to as high as it would go so that there was just a very slight cool.
So I could set the cool bot at 48 to 50 degrees and be fine and save energy to, Im mostly thinking about having the ability to pick for a couple days.
Im thinking of planting the following:
sweetcorn 8 acres
sweet potatoes half acre acre plus hoop house
russet potatoes 1 acre
greenbeans 2 acres
lima beans 2 acres
tomatoes 1 acre plus the hoop house
peppers 1 acre plus hoop house
pumpkins 3 acres
cantaloupe 2 acres
strawberries 2 acres
beets 1 acre
leaf lettuce half acre
zucchinni half acre
cucumbers half acre
what do you all think
Lots of work. Do you have most of it pre-sold? Do you have a bean-picker, because that's alot of beans to hand-pick?
I hoping that your corn will be spaced out on maturity dates. I would do that.
With that much possible produce, you could FLOOD the Rockville Auction if you took everything there. I might be able to come up with some other outlets if you need them. I'm thinking of 1 in Terre Haute, and a broker in Vincennes. I know that are others, but these 2 I could probably come up with telephone numbers.
Marla, Id appreciate those contacts, Im hoping to earn enough to pay off my tractor this year. I dont have a bean picker machine, but have about 12 human bean pickers lined up :0) The sweet corn is going to be planted over a week, so as the harvest will be spread out over the same period of time.
I'll see if I can find the numbers. They buy when the stuff is ready. Can you stretch the corn out, or plant different maturity dates? Are you only planting 1 variety of beans? and it is a concentrated set type? I would also spread those plantings out some. I usually plant every 2-3 weeks and about 4 plantings and then do it all over again. That gives me beans almost continuously.
My guy in Vincennes also plants several plantings of cantalope, that way when the bigger guys that only plant once stuff is over, he still has more coming in. He only has workers til Labor Day, after that most of the crops are in. He doesn't plant pumpkins, but does plant winter squash.
I know the sweet potatoes sell well at Rockville, if not a huge amount brought in at any one time.
I like Red potatoes, most of my customers do also. The russets just doesn't sell as well for me. Can you split your acreage into different colors? It might diversify and help your sales.
Marla, those are some good ideas, I will work on my planting map, I dont see why I cant do some of those things. I especialy like the idea of planting different maturing varieties, that would work with most things, with a weeks spread of planting combined with later maturing varieties I could spread the harvest over a way longer period. I also dont see why I cant plant several varieties of potatoes, Im going to plant several varieties of tomatoes also.
I need to 'hook' up with you as far as the green beans. I don't have human green bean pickers. Are you going to try some wax (yellow) beans. I usually sell yellow, purple and green. Of course, the green sell the best. People don't know what they are missing by turning their noses up at the purple ones. They're more tender and when cooked they're green.
Any idea about prices that you expect yet? I know it's early.
On the potatoes, you need to watch the white potatoes from getting sunburnt (turning green). People don't buy the greenish ones.
You should plant a 1/2 acre of sweet corn every week starting in Mid to late April and go for 8 weeks. that way you will have an 8 to 9 week harvest period for the sweet corn and you will not have way too much to sell ever.
I hope you have strawberry pickers lined up or else you will be picking strawberries 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 3 to 4 weeks. Wotta a back breaker.
I agree with what others say about spreading your plantings out. I would even consider spreading out your potato plantings. That is what I do to ensure a steady supply of "new potatoes". I suppose you are going to sell full sized potatoes. However, this would work out great for a market farmer, you are just selling wholesale so it might not be as good for you.
On the potato issue, just sort them per size. You'll need to do that to wholesale them anyway. I usually sell the creamers, smaller than B size, in a quart basket and charge alittle more. If customers ask why, then I explain that I spent the time to sort them so that the customer did not have too. I did find that the ones smaller than the tip of finger, don't taste as good.
Thanks guys Im copying all this down and see where I can fit it in on the plan. Ive been putting in supply orders, and the bill isnt looking very nice, but hopefully the payoff will be worth it. The wife and I have been checking out corn pickers, and edible bean harvesters, but havent been impressed enough to purchase.
The bean and corn pickers will make things easier, butthey are also not a friendly to the produce. I've heard of 1 place southwest of you that uses a corn picker. You buy a 'bin' of corn, and you get WHATEVER the picker picks up. Sometimes snakes, mice, weeds, and unripe corn, or even bad corn.
Seed orders $$s start to add up fast. Be sure to order soon, or the seeds will be backordered. I had that last year on tomato seeds, lucky I could order from 2 different places and my seed company was honest enough to tell me that IF I could find the seed elsewhere grab it. Smaller company.
back to the coolbot. Does anyone have any information on longevity. If you add a turbo or nitric to a auto engine, you'll increase horsepower, but shorten the life considerably. So have you calculated how many air conditioning units you will kill with this attachment?
Interesting question eric, anyone know?
Hi Eric, We have used the cool bot since it came out and we were starting our farm in 2007. There were some kinks they were still working out at the beginning, but the coolbot people were always there to anwer our questions and send updated parts, etc. It has worked great since the kinks got worked out and we have used one air conditioner for 3 yrs.(lg model). We keep it at about 38 degrees, but it could cool to lower temps. We built 2x4/plywood walls in our garage and isulated with rigid insulation. Then a steel worker we know was working on a warehouse job and was able to obtain insulated steel panels that we installed inside the cooler including the floor. The panels were left over from the warehouse door cut outs and worked great for our cooler which is about 6 feet by 8 feet. the coolbot has worked excellent for us and has saved us lots of money not having to buy a cooler and it doesn't cost a lot in electricity to run it. This product it legitimate!!
Thats great to hear, I think Im going to get one.
You better get two. My birthday is in March. :~)
someones mighty positive or thinks hes been a real good boy :0) LOL
Mine too, Josh, mine's the 1st.
I've thought about just putting an AC unit inside of a shed, well insulated. My son brought a old cooler box home from a food-bank that was moving. He brought it home in parts, we have to figure out how to put it together. Maybe that would work.
With this weather we ought to just cut ice blocks and build an ice house like in the old days.
you would nd sawdust to pack it in for insulation, btw whre are you locatd josh?
My brother has a backhoe. I keep thinking I should dig an old fashion root celler into one of my hillsides. I believe are soil is a constant 54 degrees at a certain depth.
Eric Wa. zone 8
Dirtdigging Im in the beautiful hills of Southwest IN, beautiful woodlands, rivers, creeks, and waterfalls. Big ole deer, tough ole turkeys mangey coyotes, flighty quail,and onery bobcats LOL
hey Josh, dugh like read the mane line lol
here in western carolina place calld hickory the foot hills to the mountain areas of north carolina. just getting started in a new location here how long have you been at it.?
Ive been doing this going on 11 years. I grew up farming though, tobbacco, beef cattle, and hogs.
Since y'all are a wee bit off-topic I'll chime in, too. My summer project (in my spare time, as if) is to build a root cellar out of earthbags. This one: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/Earthbag-Building-Garden-Shed.aspx
although like most of my projects it won't be nearly that pretty.
I also have a couple of old, very old, insulated metal...rolling carts, I guess you could call them, about 8' high and 5' wide. Perhaps they were used on railroad cars to keep food insulated. I still don't know what to do with them...open to suggestions.