Cost of Gardening Tools and Equipment

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Windy in Kansas, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I spoke of the cost of seeders in another thread and thought it might be better to simply start another thread than to reply there.

    Some 20+ years ago when I was married and had a family I was a very avid gardener. It was indeed a hobby and as with most hobbies there was cost involved.

    One particular year when I was telling my wife that I intended to order some drip irrigation equipment to the tune of several hundred dollars she was not thrilled with the expenditure at all. I gently reminded her that gardening was my hobby just as her numerous ones were to her, with mine being more fruitful with a great return. I also explained that the drip system would be useful for many years and should be looked at as an investment over those years as well as in the savings to pump less water.

    Using the drip irrigation on our sandy soil proved to be an excellent investment and yielded the best garden we had ever raised. We gave much away after the freezer and pantry were filled by my own hands. At the end of the season I tallied up the number of packages of frozen vegetables which translated to a payback much greater than the cost of the supplies I used. All we ate, gave away, dehydrated and canned were the icing on the cake.

    When it comes to looking at the cost of seeders several things need to be taken into consideration. Will a seeder speed the gardening process if one has limited time. To that I answer both yes and no. The seeds are quickly put into the ground, but it does take some time to switch between the various seeds. Perhaps more so with the precision seeder I have since a "choke", "springbase", and "punched seedbelt" may all need to be changed. I aim to plant seeds using the same choke and seedbase successively so that they need not be changed after each various seed. Changing a simple seed plate on a lower cost planter is done in mere seconds but gives way to precision.

    For me the best part of precision planting is to not spend hours thinning crops. If they are spaced accurately to begin with it takes away much back breaking work as well as saving much seed.

    Many of the "Planet Jr." planters of yesteryear are still being used today. The first ones were produced some 100 years ago. When one buys a planter perhaps they should look at it as a LOOOONG TERM investment and the per year cost of such.

    Over the years I have invested time to haul away straw and manure piles from the Kansas State Fairgrounds to enrich the soil. One year I purchased bags of leaves from kids. It was a job they had to do for their parents, saved the parents from hauling off the bags, and cleaned up the neighborhood as they also worked for others. With each load I hauled I gave them the old bags to use again to keep their parents cost down. That particular year I added over 200 bags of leaves to my garden in addition to many loads of grass clippings. The following spring my now rich sandy soil had earth worms for the first time.
    Again my time and expense well spent.

    When it comes to buying a hoe I have found that a "roguing" hoe is so sturdy and stout that it will take all of the abuse one can give to it. Not cheap, but it will last.

    Homesteadingtoday participants almost always advocate to buy the best tools and equipment you can afford. I fully agree that a quality tool is a lifetime investment rather than the shorter term investment of an inferior tool. Having said that--sometimes you use a tool so infrequently that a cheaper tool will work just as well and last ages.

    When it comes to tillers buy the best. I started out with a spade, advanced to a cheap front tined tiller, then added a fair tiller on the back of a Cub Cadet, and for home gardening am at the BCS tractor with rear tine tiller stage. For market gardening I also have a 1720 Ford tractor with 58" roto-tiller as well as a disk and other cultivation and soil preparation equipment. Nearly a full line as I bought out a retired market gardener.
    Never again at my age would I consider doing the work of what a gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel will. There is satisfaction just getting the job done by any means so I don't need to dig in the soil with my hands any longer.

    Summation, always look at the long term cost of an item, your enjoyment of that item, and any extra benefit from the cost of a purchase such as increased yields, time saving, continuation of gardening when you might otherwise have to stop due to age/illness, etc.

    It is Christmas time, shouldn't you be treating yourself to something special?
     
  2. Colorado

    Colorado Well-Known Member

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    I have been looking in to getting a push seeder and I find all kinds of prices for same brand as it seems there is more than one model of it. One I am looking at has wheels with cleats on it and not sure if that helps anything. Fertilizes as it plants. Only one model I see that does. One trip down the rows would sure save me time. I do have a another piece of equipement I need buy before this and hoping to buy it used as would not use much. I have never seen a used seeded around. How long are they from front wheel to the back???? Has anyone pulled them with a power unit of some kind.?????

    Cheap stuff does not last.
     

  3. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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  4. Colorado

    Colorado Well-Known Member

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    It is Earthway seeder but not one Johnny's list. This one has cleats on the wheels and fertilizer that worked while you plant. They all look alike but it seems some are different models. Harris Seed has this one. I am waiting on thier catalog to see if gives any more on it. I saw one earthway listed that the front wheel was a V and that made the seed ditch. Prices are all different. I swear that was what it said. I need it to be adjustable for seed depth. I keep looking. Johnny's will side dress. Does not say will do it while planting seed. I can not see cleats making it any easier to push.
     
  5. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Earthways are adjustable for seed depth(I think). The fertilizer might be an option you could add to a used one, they go for $60-70 on Ebay.
     
  6. Colorado

    Colorado Well-Known Member

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    I went to the farm store in the city and I found the Earthway seeder at 68.95 plus tax. Has the 6 plates I think it is The attachement for fertilizer $35.85. They did not have the extra seed plates. Then I got a fertilizer spreader you push and it was 41.30. Only one they had and not clean but new setting out there. This is new stuff. I will have to order the extra set of plates for the seeder. I would rather buy local if I can. Now I am set for spring?????? Total 155. something and that includes a tube of glue and a plow blade to go on the push plow I have. I think I did okay?????