2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6, Page #31[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
How To Make A Precision Tiny Seed Planter
For do-it-yourselfers, Dr. Eric Brennen, with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, offers directions for building a slide hammer seeder for about $32 for parts including conduit, copper tubing, plumbing parts, and a vial.
The slide hammer planter slides and hits like a hammer against a washer to create a force that disrupts seeds in a vial. Just a few seeds drop from the holes in the bottom, then travel down a tube into soil. Vials have different size holes for precise seeding rates for different seeds such as basil, chives and mint, which are so tiny that there are 300,000 seeds/ounce.
Brennan initially designed and built the planter to efficiently plant sweet alyssum in crops such as lettuce. Alyssum attracts beneficial insects to control pests.
With the planter, a person walks down the rows and jabs the slide hammer seeder in the soil to precisely plant the small seeds, spaced as needed.
Brennan shows how to build and use the seeder on YouTube. Just search for “How to make the Slide Hammer Seeder”. Detailed plans are also available for free at https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/abstract/journals/horttech/28/6/article-p764.xml.
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