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garden-scale no-till drill seeder?

 
Posts: 111
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Are there small-scale tools that work like a  no-till drill that the mega row-crops farmers have? Something for market gardeners or large-scale home gardeners?

I am converting my 3,000 square foot garden from bare tilled soil to continuous no-till with cover crops. I'm realizing that I will need to plant into a lot of residue and uneven ground.

My cover crop seed will be oats and winter peas to winter-kill, plus buckwheat in the summer, and white clover in the walkways. So a wide range of seed sizes and shapes.

Direct-seeded "cash crops" are carrots and parsnips, corn and beans. Everything else is transplanted by hand.

Most of the garden seeders (Earthway, Jang, Hoss) are based on a series of plates with holes drilled to pickup and drop a single seed at a time. Some of them have optional opening wheel / closing wheels, but most just have a simple shank (which will tangle residue) and a drag chain.

I haven't seen a no-till drill up close, but it looks like they have a large hopper for seed, and a wheel-driven paddle that does a "controlled spill" of seed into the furrow.

It would be great if I could find something that would attach to a single-wheel walk-behind hoe like a Hoss - but with coulters to open and close the furrow after dropping in the seed.

Also something that can be adapted to single-row or multi-row seeding just by closing off the plate between the hopper and the paddle wheel.
 
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Hi Davis. The market garden hand tool I've seen that works well for planting into cover crop residue does not exactly match the specifications you described. However you may find it to be worth checking out. It's called the Zilli jab seeder, and I found it on the Earth Tools website when I was researching crimper rollers just last night. You plant seeds one at a time by jabbing the ground, and it automatically reloads the next seed. It has a quart size hopper. That may be a little more labor intensive than what you're looking for.
 
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There really isn't a no till seed drill that is hand powered (for that the Hoss is your best bet).
If you want a no till seed drill that is sized to a 4 wheeler, those are out there on the market  RTP outdoors

Most of this type of tool is sized for large tractors and those start at around 6K and go up to over 10K.

By the way, a seed drill does exactly that, it drills (pokes) a hole and deposits a seed then a wheel covers and presses down the soil. I've seen several different configurations for pulling behind a 4 wheeler and all look like they would work great.
Most of them are two pokes to a hole, the first makes the hole the second drops the seed then, behind the "wheel" is a small plow to cover the hole with soil and then a wheel passes over to tamp the soil tight to the seed.

Redhawk
 
Davis Tyler
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Audrey Lewis wrote:Hi Davis. The market garden hand tool I've seen that works well for planting into cover crop residue does not exactly match the specifications you described. However you may find it to be worth checking out. It's called the Zilli jab seeder, and I found it on the Earth Tools website when I was researching crimper rollers just last night. You plant seeds one at a time by jabbing the ground, and it automatically reloads the next seed. It has a quart size hopper. That may be a little more labor intensive than what you're looking for.



thanks, that's the first I've seen that design.  Seems like it would work well for large-seeded crops with wide spacing/low density.  Something like winter squash that are in mounds 3-feet apart, or corn on 4" spacing.  

I would need something else for small seeds like carrots and parsnips, and densely-planted cover crops, which typically sow at 3-5 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet
 
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This thread:

 
Davis Tyler
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:There really isn't a no till seed drill that is hand powered (for that the Hoss is your best bet).
If you want a no till seed drill that is sized to a 4 wheeler, those are out there on the market  RTP outdoors

Most of this type of tool is sized for large tractors and those start at around 6K and go up to over 10K.

By the way, a seed drill does exactly that, it drills (pokes) a hole and deposits a seed then a wheel covers and presses down the soil. I've seen several different configurations for pulling behind a 4 wheeler and all look like they would work great.
Most of them are two pokes to a hole, the first makes the hole the second drops the seed then, behind the "wheel" is a small plow to cover the hole with soil and then a wheel passes over to tamp the soil tight to the seed.

Redhawk



thanks for the link to the Genesis drill.  I can't tell from the video how it meters out the seed.  Is there an auger-and-paddle system to control the spill rate?  It's not lifting and dropping individual seeds like a Hoss or Earthway does.  Is there a reason why the tractor-scale seeders can use a much heavier seeding rate than the single-seed garden planters?  I see they all use 7.5" row spacing, which would work fine for me.  But they must be dumping a lot of seed in that trench - aren't the soybeans coming up too crowded in the Genesis video?

To take a step back, is there any engineering reason by a single-row no-till drill wouldn't work?  I understand the scale and marketing reasons to sell to large-scale commercial growers, but is there some limiting factor that would prevent a scaled-down version of the same design?  How much down-force are the tractor hydraulics providing?  It looks like the Hoss standalone seeder (https://hosstools.com/product/hoss-garden-seeder/) slices a trench with its opening wheels and it sure doesn't weigh much.  Unfortunately it looks like it drop seed at a low rate for cash crops like corn, beans, and peas.  I want something that can drill in buckwheat, oats, and peas seeds at 3-5 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The Genesis machine drops a lot of seeds because it is meant for wild game anima feed plots, not maximum yield but maximum coverage (I've never figured that one out, I plant my feed plots just like I would any field or garden).

Most of the large farm machines have an augur that moves the seeds from the hopper to the drill and most of them are hollow tubed with a poking point that exits the seed out the back side of the drill piece.
I've got friends that can plant 60 rows of soy or corn in a single pass but most are in the 30 row range I think.

If you get one just be sure to set it up and write down the setting numbers for each size seed, that way you only have to go through the setup test one time for each grain size.

I just broadcast wheat, barley, rye and oats. all others I use a hand power hoss to do the work of getting seeds in the soil. But I am not trying to do a truck farm setup nor am I trying to go commercial any longer.

Here's another company that makes small scale seed drills for ATV's Dew Drop Drill

Redhawk
 
Davis Tyler
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I considered broadcasting cover crop seed on the surface, but I was concerned about getting poor germination rates.  My sandy loam soil dries out very quickly between rains.  Even if there is water a couple inches down, the surface dries right way  which is why I want to get all the seeds at least 1/2" underground

is this the Hoss seeder you have?  https://hosstools.com/seeders/home/
what crops do you seed with it?  peas, beans, corn - anything smaller-seeded?
 
steward
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This is the seeder that I use frequently. It can be used for planting seeds, onions, potatoes, or plants. Quick, simple, and inexpensive to make. For harder ground, it can be made out of metal.



 
Davis Tyler
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yes, your tube seeder is on my list of thing to try for next year - especially transplants from 72-cell plug flat trays.

I don't know that it would be fast enough to be practical for cover crops that require 3-5 pounds of seeds per 1,000 square feet - that's a lot of seeds to drop individually down a tube.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Davis Tyler wrote:I considered broadcasting cover crop seed on the surface, but I was concerned about getting poor germination rates.  My sandy loam soil dries out very quickly between rains.  Even if there is water a couple inches down, the surface dries right way  which is why I want to get all the seeds at least 1/2" underground

is this the Hoss seeder you have?  https://hosstools.com/seeders/home/
what crops do you seed with it?  peas, beans, corn - anything smaller-seeded?



Yes that is the hoss I have, it works great for just about any seeds, I've even used the corn plate to plant a combination of seeds premixed in a bucket then poured into the hopper, I had 2 row barley, cereal rye, buckwheat and an annual grass, the machine did pretty good, only got hung up a couple of times because of the seeds getting jammed, a simple clearing and I was on the march again.

Redhawk
 
Davis Tyler
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I like that idea - I've read about the big ag guys planting cover crop mixes.  I can tolerate multiple seeds dropped per revolution, as long as the total coverage rate is about right
 
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