Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
This is the time of year when I never feel caught up. I am constantly lagging behind. The longer days make it possible to work more outside, but my body is still transitioning from the slower-paced winter. Spring fever sets in and it is impossible to resist buying spring plants and flowers. When it comes to springtime planting I feel like a starving person at a potluck dinner packing food on my plate and someone yells at me that my eyes are bigger than my stomach! Oh, it is a great joy, though. I do love working in the garden and watching things grow and flourish! Truth be told, I will never catch up because there is always something more I would love to grow or plant. There are always weeds to pull, mulch to be laid down or a cover crop to be sowed.
A few years ago a friend let me borrow his Precision Garden Seeder. It is a row-crop planter that has two wheels, a hopper that holds seeds and different discs that fit into the hopper to plant different sized seeds. As you roll the planter along it uses a belt and turns the disc in the hopper while picking up a seed and sending it down the spout and into the ground. A chain drags behind to cover the seed with dirt while the rear wheel presses the dirt and seed into the ground.
Does it REALLY Work?
I instantly became friends with this time-saver! I was skeptical at first, worrying that the spacing of the seeds would be correct, or that the seed depth and drop rate would not be consistent enough. It really impressed me when the seeds came up and I ended up with good rows of beans and corn. When my friend offered me his extra Precision Garden Seeder. I was happy to accept. I just needed to buy the box of seed discs to use with it. The next spring I used it for beans, corn, lettuce, spinach, beets and carrots.
My favorite crop to use it for is sorghum. Those little sorghum seeds are hard to hand sow, especially when there are several long rows to plant! When planting by hand I usually plant too thickly and have to thin out lots of little plants. With the planter I save time and seed, and don’t have an achy back!
The planter does work best if the ground is freshly tilled and when using it must be moved over rocks and debris if the wheel won’t roll over it. I also check to make sure that all the seeds did in fact get covered with soil. After the seeds have germinated I go ahead and replant any skips by hand. I have found that this tool is truly a time-saver in our garden.
Do you have a tool that you have come to depend on for helping you with the garden chores? Please share your helpful hints. I love trying new (and old) tricks to help make gardening more successful. Thank you, and keep having fun in the garden!
note: The planter that I have is an old Sears and Roebuck model. All the discs that Earthway sells for their Precision Garden Seeder fits it, so I assume it is exactly the same design. Earthway is the only manufacturer I have found for this at present.
photo credit: me planting top crop green beans in our garden with the Precision Garden Seeder