Jan 282008
 

EarthWay Precision Seeder
In North America, at least, the EarthWay Precision Seeder is in a class of its own. This is in good part due to the fact that it’s also the only seeder in its price range… Inexpensive at around $100US, it’s widely used in market gardens and nurseries, and probably larger home gardens as well. I’ve used one for five seasons (with no breakdowns, no repairs!). For direct seeding, for me it’s either the Earthway or by hand.

It certainly works well enough to get the job done, but it also has its drawbacks and requires quite a lot of getting used to. It can be a huge seed-waster, dropping more seed than necessary. It’s also prone to clogging and skipping depending on the type of seed. And you have to get used to it. For example, for bigger seed, I listen for the regular click of the seed going down the chute, and for all seed, I watch to see the seed hit the ground (you get used to it, you can even spot tiny carrot seed! :). So, it takes a fair bit of familiarity to use efficiently.

For a long while, a couple of decades at least, it was the only inexpensive seeder around that could take on bigger tasks. In recent years (maybe the last five), other single-row push seeders have appeared. They’re apparently more accurat, also, more expensive, but in the $500-1,000 range that makes economic sense for the market grower on probably half an acre or more, paying back through savings in seed and thinning time.

All that said, it’s still a useful machine at a great price.

Tips

  • Small seed, particularly from the brassica family, can get behind the seed plate, in turn causing less even seed distribution. Here’s an interesting fix (haven’t tried it yet, but I will).
  • See the comments below!