Jan 112009

FarmArt Six-Row Seeder

Based on a first-hand recommendation, and a fair bit of experience with uneven mesclun seeding, and endless carrot thinning (all thanks to the the less-than-precise Earthway seeder), I’m up for one of these! The FarmArt Six-Row Seeder is sold through the well-known US seed house, Johnny’s Selected Seed. From the web site blurb: “Up to six rows can be planted at once with 2 1/4″ spacing between rows. A roller in front firms and levels the soil. One in the back closes the furrows and drives the seed shaft. Four hole sizes are provided for seeds from raw carrots through pelleted lettuce. Three different drive ratios give spacing within the rows of 1″, 2″, or 4″.” This covers all the spacings I can think of for carrots, mesclun and other salad greens, green onions,… By using only some of the six hoppers, you can get row spacings of 4½”, 6¾”, 9″ or 11¼”. According to the brochure, “This design arose from Eliot Coleman’s experience with pinpoint seeders, customer feedback to Johnny’s, and design and development work by Art Haines of FarmArt,” which also sounds good, as in, practical! The only problem is, at $549, it’s a bit of an investment for my 2-acre scale of tiny farming, especially since I also want to try the equally recommended Jang seeder

  • http://www.gardenersinfopoint.com/Review-The-Mantis-Tiller-Is-The-ultimate-Tool-For-Every-Gardener.html Hank Gordon

    Interesting post, thank you! I always like to read and write about all kind of gardening ideas.

  • http://www.maplerockfarm.com John

    This things a piece of crap.  I bought one.  I works very poorly.  seedbed has to be perfect and packed.  Earthway much better performing in real life non eliot Coleman condidtions ( even with i’t obvious idiosyncrities)
    I sold mine straight off after many failed attempts and endless frustration that my hero/mentor put his good name on such a worthless gadget.


  • http://tinyfarmblog.com Mike (tfb)

    John, I think as you said, it needs a very well-prepared seed bed. Read this forum post. It calls it “the greatest seeding tool ever”, and in part, it says: “The only downside is it needs a fine, level seedbed to work. Eliot Colman designed a little cordless drill operated ’tilther’ to make fine seedbeds for this seeding system, so we got that too and tried it out.” In combination with the tilther, it apparently works great. I guess at first it sounds a little offputting  to “have” to buy two tools, but if it’s a really good system, that’s just how it is. There’s no one-tool rule for getting a job done…

    It’s still a little expensive for me, but I intend to give ‘em a try…at some point.

  • MM

    The main drawback for me is FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY-NINE DOLLARS.  I understand its a rare tool and manufactured in America – quality.  But $549? Come on.  Not getting it.  Is it diamond encrusted or something?
    Had to get that out of my system.

  • http://tinyfarmblog.com Mike (tfb)

    MM: I know. As of Feb 2011, it’s $574 for the seeder, and $439 for the tilther, $1,013 in all. Depends on the size of your operation, it takes a lot of seed-saving to pay that off. At Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

  • http://www.applefarmservice.com/ Richard Davis

    Wow that is an expensive piece of farm equipment! If it lasts a lifetime I suppose it would be worth it.

  • Daniel

    I’m pretty skeptical.  I spent a bunch of money on soil block equipment a couple of years ago, based on information from Mr. Colemans and from Johnny’s.  I had a similar experience – sounds great in principle, works poorly in practice.

    I certainly don’t have time to preen seedbeds to this level, and the idea that I need to do so with a $400.00 tool in order to accommodate the quirks of a  $600.00 tool – both from the same source – just screams “scam” to me.

    I wonder what percentage of Mr. Coleman’s income actually comes from farming and what percentage comes from books and tool sales through Johnny’s.

  • http://www.container-vegetablegardening.com/ growing seeds

    is this expensive? where can i buy it?

  • http://www.smallgardendesignsite.com smallgardendesign

    Wow its good for seeding but it is expensive. can you tell me please that form where i can buy it? <a href=”http://www.smallgardendesignsite.com”>small garden design</a>

  • http://www.smallgardendesignsite.com backyard designer

    This things a piece of crap.  I bought one.  I works very poorly.  seedbed has to be perfect and packed.

  • Anonymous

    I have both the 4 and the 6 row seeders, and am very happy with both. I have been using the four row since the first year it came out, I’ve replaced the brushes, and modified the shaft a bit for easier turning. These are not for people who don’t adequately prepare their seed beds, but it certainly does not depend on the purchase of a tilther – both were in use long before the tilther came on the market. These seeders will, in a market garden setting, easily pay for themselves if a salad mix is part of the marketing plan, because of savings in labor, seed, and weeding. It is an excellent tool if you have a properly prepared seedbed, but if you aren’t willing to make the effort, you’ll be wasting your money. The value of my time is all I need to justify the cost of this tool and the effort to build an excellent seedbed, which actually takes very little time.

    For what it’s worth, I also use an Earthway, an E-Z Seeder, and soil blocks. They all work well if you take the time to learn how to work with them. In terms of payback, the pinpoint seeders may be slightly less competitive, but they do a better job than any of the other tools, or hand seeding, for evenly spaced, precise planting of the smaller seeds.

    • dissatisfied

      We have one and it is poorly designed. The handle pushes on a tin bracket that goes directly onto the plastic bearing which drives the whole thing. This creates such tension on the back basket driving wheel that in sandy loam it just pushes it like a plow. So to make it work one has to push up and forward to get that pressure off the bearing. I’m a farmer and anyone who is a farmer must know how to make things work. Modification was needed to correct the bone head that designed this. Second problem is the rubber band drive that goes from one pully to the other pops off when soil has any type of moisture. Good only for Nevada desert! The pullies fills with soil causing the binder to pop out. Again modification need. Do not buy if your not a handy man and you have sandy loam. First year I had to crawl to get the wheel to spin. Second year worked better when I went up and down the row without seed to make the bed perfect but still had plowing issues and rubber binder popping off. 500 hondo I expect it to be designed better! My plastic 50 dollar earthway kicks this things butt!

  • Pingback: Clean Seeder | Seeders For Sale