Market garden, precision seeding.

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Windy in Kansas, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    For those of you that market garden and would like to have a precision seeder, take a look at the units at this url. http://www.stanhay.co.uk/8xx.shtml

    I have two rows of the 840 units. They are extremely accurate and take very little extra seed to "prime the hopper". The 820 push units would be great, and I suspect better for most of us than the 3 point implement style.

    To provide accuracy the metering system is a punched hole belt. The belts are punched to the very size of seed you have, and to specifications as to planting distance between seeds. You can even have a belt punched to plant 3 lines of seeds side by side such as for letture, radish, or carrot. The 3 line belt uses a different ground opener to distribute the seed into the three tiny furrows.

    They aren't for the feint of heart as they are expensive. If you hire labor to thin plantings, they would save that job due to accuracy, and would pay for themselves over time.

    Each seed variety needs a different belt which also adds to the cost.

    If you have a market garden---take a look. A once in a lifetime purchase should last forever with care. The units can also be used on a toolbar on a two-wheeled tractor such as a BCS.
     
  2. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Pretty cool Windy. To think we planted our acre garden all by hand. DH raked all the rows; laid the row tape; mounded the trenches; picked out the rocks and I planted the seed.
     

  3. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    There is a small, human powered one on the market I am going to purchase, it is available through Stokes and Veseys seed companies, called the Earthway Precision Garden Seeder, the price is(with all attachments) $230.95(Stokes) Has anyone used this and if so, how do you like it?
     
  4. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    The earthway seeder I saw at Stokes was only $90. Are there attachments I did not see? I have the same one with about 6 plates, but no fertilizer attachment, that I bought locally at the farm store for about $60. It is OK for long rows, but I find that I do more hand sowing since I have gone to mostly raised beds that are shorter.

     
  5. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    This is the Canadian edition of their catalogue, the additional attachements are seed plates for broccoli, lima bean, cucumber, light carrot, and popcorn for $24.95, also a fertilizer applicator for $59.50. The basic price listed is $123, and I didn't look closely enough, it has six basic seed plates included for radish, corn, carrot, bean, beet and pea. So the total price with all extra attachments would be $206.45 Canadain funds. I will be doing long rows, so I guess it will help at planting time.
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Windy any idea how much they are and will they plant corn?
     
  7. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I have owned both an Earthway planter and a Lambert brand planter and they are anything but precision. They are both cup type seeders, i.e. a verticle seed plate scoops a "cup" or scoop of seed up as it rotates through the seed in the hopper, then drops it into a chute. While the cup should nearly always fill with the correct amount of seed, it instead varies widely. The seed tumbles down the tube and is then scattered along the ground from the forward motion. Much thinning is required since the seeds aren't accurately spaced. I found too, that the hopper on both require quite a bit of extra seed to prime them. The Lambert didn't take quite as much, and was the one I preferred of the two. Except for corn and beans I planted mostly by hand for better control.

    Ross, as I said the Stanhay units aren't for the feint of heart. A lot of the cost comes from needing a belt for each variety and sometime a different choke, which is part of the limiting seeding mechanism.

    I have belts for the following vegetables: Watermelon, lentil, cilantro, green bean (was there any doubt?), okra, turnip, carrot, muskmelon, radish, popcorn, pinto bean, peas, beets, sweet corn, and one for broccoli for if and when I ever get the right conditions to try direct seeding.

    I have right at $2,000 each wrapped up in the two rows of planter units. I put them on a toolbar that I already have, built my own markers, etc. While $4,000 sounds like a lot and is a lot, the units will last me a lifetime. Eventually in 15-20 years I may have to get some different belts, but by keeping them well protected I even doubt that. From a market garden perspective, $4,000 is about the gross from a half acre of sweet corn at todays prices, or 4040 crowns of broccoli.

    After studying various brands of planters in 1996 and 1997 and attending the California Farm Equipment Show, it is my opinion (and others) that the Stanhay is the best planter for vegetables unless you step up to vacuum planters.

    The old John Deere 33 units are great, but have you seen any used ones sold lately? The John Deere, now Yetter, Flex-71s were pretty adaptable too.

    As you can see my money is on the Stanhay. Besides, that nice orange color goes well with my Ford tractor blue.
     
  8. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info Windy, I am not a big market gardener and just getting started so can't really afford the one you've mentioned, just yet. As I develop more of my land into gardens would consider something like this. I guess for now I should just do it by hand, unless you might have other suggestions I might use that would make it a little easier on the back. Thanks again.
     
  9. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    There are a few push planters out there other than the Earthway and Lambert (I don't know if the Lambert is still available or not).

    I have a 2002 year equipment catalog from Market Farm Implement that shows two push planters. One is a "Sure Grow", the other from an old well known line of Cole Planet Jr., with the model being called a "Jr. Push".

    There are also a number of manufacturers that make tool bar planters of considerablly less cost than the Stanhay. Covington and Cole are but two of them. "Small Farm Today" magazine sometimes has ads from different makers.

    A web site that is interesting to check out is that of Market Farm Implement at http://www.marketfarm.com You won't see the Stanhay there since they aren't a dealer of them.

    jackie c., can't you just convince Ross to come plant your crops for you?
    Sorry Ross, couldn't resist since you are both north of the U.S. border.
     
  10. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Thanks Windy but JackieC is a solid day and a half drive away from me employing an enthusiastic legal speed limit, and I don't have a planter of any sort yet (well a 21 run field seed drill) 2k per unit is not bad considering what it does. Have you priced 12 row field corn planters lately?!!?? My 3pth Bhuler tiller is $4500 new and I paid $3000 for it nearly new. I found an Ontario Dealer in SWOnt. (where else?) Can you expand the seed boxes for corn? I should call him but I'm half wiped out from all night lambing chores ATM.
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Windy those potatoe diggers make my old beast look like an archeologists dream find! Nevermind its better than the one our local veggie grower uses...... by a hair. I'm hoping I can modify my corn picker for sweet corn, the snapper header looks the same, so if I disable the husking bed and install a small belt conveyor over the rolls it should pick sweet corn just fine.
     
  12. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Ross I have never seen a larger box offered for the planters. The 840 units I have are suggested for use by small acreage growers. Perhaps the 870s or others would have larger boxes.

    On the other hand, I expect you could readily add some seed box side extensions for a little more capacity.

    It is a lot easier for a farmer to understand the cost of production equipment compared to a homesteader or city person. Those of us that have bought and sold a hundred head of livestock; bought and traded or sold a combine or tractors uderstand the high costs involved for a return on our money. The old saying that it takes money to make money is true in many instances for farmers.
    Bigger isn't necessarily better, but it sure helps to spread the costs per acre for production.