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Seed Drill vs Broadcast

 
Richard Yorke
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Was wondering if anyone had some ideas on building a primitive Seed Drill? Perhaps using an old plough disc or 10lb weight lifting disc, maybe there are some good basic mechanical Youtube videos out there somewhere.



Something like this.



Or this, but a bit more meatier.

In addition is there anything that broadcasts well on to compact soil, or perhaps another solution to clear, existing grasses and "weeds". I guess burdock and thistle would be good contenders, for compacted soil.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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I'm interested in that.  I am trying to figure out how to do the no till seeding into crop residue, and planting new varieties into existing perennial mats.  They make big no till things but nothing practical for small scale.

I did read of someone using a lawn edging tool to slit through the crop residue or root mat.  They had put something that would widen the slit just enough to get seeds into contact with the soil.  Then they closed it back over, and kept any live plants mowed pretty short while waiting for germination.

I think in my soil I would need more than 10 lbs to get the drill into the soil, and the heavier it gets, the more force it takes to push it along.  I've thought of training a couple of my goats to harness, so they could pull it.

I'm interested in what other ideas might come out of this thread.

Re your second question, about loosening the soil,  "tillage" radishes do pretty well, make a fatter root than burdock, and can go pretty deep, then leave a fleshy root to feed soil biota or resprout in the spring.  At my place when the ground freezes they get sometimes squished up out of the soil, and as they rise on successivenights of freezing, the goats eat the tops off.  The roots are also good eating.  If you can't find "tillage radishes" then look for seed for daikon radish.  they have the same long tapering root, and are also good to eat.  I have wondered if tillage radishes are the same as the daikon.
 
Richard Yorke
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Yeah there doesn't seem to be much for small scale seed drilling, the stuff that does exist seems to be expensive plastic or aluminium. The Lawn edging tool sounds like it might be a good idea, I don't want to plant too deep however,( maybe there' some seed or root that does well at depth exc bindweed)   the area I would eventually like to cover is too large to mow. The only small scale drills for the area I would be looking at seem to have stopped selling in the 50's IMO, maybe there's some small scale manufacturers out there somewhere, perhaps in countries with smaller farm sizes like Germany or Portugal, with a less obvious Internet presence like on Ebay or Amazon, could try the translate option for German Ebay.

I'm guessing you might need a drill heavier than 10 lb for rocky soil, mines clay so it kind of absorbs impacts, light grey in places with tinges of blue. Edge of the field (3 acres) is uncut grass in some places with about 2 inches of black soil in a few places though matted with nettles and long grass, plus more clay underneath.

I have some Daikon radish that I bought as a sprouting mix and a small packet of a a few thousand seed don't know if they are the same variety as "tillage" radishes didn't see any suppliers of the big tillage radish seen on Youtube videos in the USA. I'd like the radishes to bolt so I can get more seed, but I think I have to plant in the spring before the summer solstice from what I read on a UK allotment forum (Increasing hours of light aiding in bolting). Ground doesn't always freeze where I live but sometimes get winters about -5c, -10c would be cold, though one year fairly recently had a really freakish temperature of -20c. Usually though its a light frost just below freezing in December. Have a bit of a slug problem eating the foliage of the daikon, where I have grown some in the garden.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I bought a walk behind tractor, a BCS, made in Italy.  There is a vendor here in the USA who catalogs pretty thoroughly what kinds of attachments are available from the same or different manufacturers. I think these tractors are for small farms, steep country side, all together a different approach to mechanization.
Their website was difficult for me to find my way around but it is very comprehensive.  It might be a good starting place to find out what exists.

http://earthtoolsbcs.com/
 
R Ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Is it soft enough for a wheel hoe with a plough attachment to do the trick?

We did this during the rainy season, so the ground was softer than normal - but still very hard.





Plough a line in the sod-like-substance.  Anything over half an inch deep.  Scatter seeds.  Kick dirt back over the furrows. 

 
Richard Yorke
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The soil soil might be just soft enough for a wheel hoe though its pretty heavy and covered with frescue grass. Not seen wheel hoes in the UK the only ones I have seen on the Internet seem to be Victorian, might just have to persevere with a mattock and sow by hand into the drill.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I just googled glaser wheel hoe, I think it's made in Switzerland.  I found this page


https://hosstools.com/glaser-wheel-hoe-vs-hoss-wheel-hoe/

and went to look.  Hoss tools makes what looks to be a better wheel hoe than the glaser,  made in the usa

but just the same, here is a glaser site

http://glaser-swissmade.com/englisch/products.html
 
Andrew Stewart
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I'm not sure how much ground you're interested in planting by this method, but I have a few ideas.

I guess It would be good to know: Are you trying to accomplish some soil-conditioning plantings as you are transitioning a area of ground into a planned use? OR Are you trying to arrive at the right tool, anticipating perennial use for the years to come?

Does your body weight force a spading shovel into the ground? Or do you have to 'kip' with your legs to force it in? Disc openers aren't concave like a shovel, but I think that the shovel would be a good indication of how much weight it takes for whichever (discs, etc.) implement to cut to the desired depth.

Low fi, one-time solution: Lay felled logs where you want to plant, wait for grass to die back, add a generous hump of compost or other arable material and just plant into that. As long as the grass is sufficiently dealt with I'm sure your plantings' roots will do the work to get where they nee to go.

An added benefit would be that you could move the logs just upland (if there is a slope) for a few days acting like a little check dam if there is water that could harm the plantings establishment.

Another idea is to make a wheel hoe 'seed drill' dealy-o like the ones listed above, with a circular saw retrofitted to be the disc opener.
I would recommend a lower profile blade with a scale saw kind of tooth pattern.



That 'saw blade' isn't low profile and I would be worried that it would cease up. The tooth pattern, I think would be ideal.

Maybe something like this blade:



If there is a lot of work to be done I would also recommend a BCS walking tractor. But I'm there biggest fan so take that advice with a pillar of salt - it's too much mechanization for some's taste. They do also produce a lawn edger, as well.

I hope this helps!
Andrew.

P.S. I think it goes with out saying that said saw is 'donated to the cause' (warranty voided, motor/bearings abused, mud slowly ruins electrical connections or plugs up exhaust, etc.)
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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I'd look at the Hoss Wheel hoe, they have some attachments that will do nicely for rip line sowing.

The alternative would be to broadcast and roll to get the seeds into good ground contact.

A roller is also a good tool for crimp rolling already growing plants, that flattens them (hard stems will break and thus become decaying mulch).
If you were to seed on a second pass, then you are getting a second crimp which will do even better.

We do not rip line sow our pastures but rather do a broadcast and roll.
Since we use a mix of about 20 different plants in all our pastures, the broadcast method works quite well for us.
If we were to take the time to do a rip line sowing, we would still have to make a broadcast pass and a roll pass, since we are looking for plant density of about 100 plants per sq. ft. as a start.
Those that fail are not a problem because of the density of plants at the start, those that don't make it only make room for other plants to thrive.
Once a pasture has gone through a grazing pass, we come in and seed again so that any areas that have been decimated have new plants growing.

I need to mention that all our pastures are in forested areas, there are spots of full sun and spots of full shade along with full sun as the sun tracks across our land.
I plant a complete mix, this way each area will grow those plants in the mix that the conditions are right for them to thrive.
What we end up with are patches of multiple plants giving our animals a varied diet that forces them to move around the pasture to eat their favorites.
Our animals are getting exercise they need, food variety they need and there is shade to keep them from overheating in the summer months.
We are using an open pasture model now where we block off the pasture we don't want them in.

Redhawk
 
Nick Kitchener
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I experimented with a lawn edging tool to cut through my lawn and direct seed malting barley. I found it is quite effective, and you can widen the cut at the top by tilting the handle back and forth as necessary. This action forms a triangular wedge shaped cut, and I originally marked the blade so I could make a measured depth cut, but found it wasn't necessary in the end.

My theory is that you need to plant deeper than normal because the cut won't completed close over, meaning that the seed isn't really buried. This means it will dry out easier, but it will also grow up through the crack easier so deeper planting might not be such a bad thing. You also need to get the seed below the root mat.

I made sure I planted into dry ground, so the soil would swell shut when rain came, and I set my seed depth and spacing using strategically places cable ties at the end of a metal tube that was bif enough to drop the seed down without them getting stuck.

With a bit of practice I could slide the tube in, deposit the seed, and extract the tube without clogging the end, or leaving a gaping hole.

I must say, it is a time consuming process and it took me about 3 to 5 seconds per seed once I had the technique figured out. It is slow, but it is easy work. And at the time I was recovering from an injury and heavy manual labour was out of the question.

Next season I'm going to repeat the experiment at greater scale (I did a 100 seed test), and tweak the mowing a bit.
 
Wayt Smith
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Where I live a hoe ways about four pounds and cuts easily through tree roots. Probaly less work the those wheel things, way less work then a shovel. Also key lined a field with a 'piocha; or a pick with a wide side.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Andrew Stewart wrote:

Another idea is to make a wheel hoe 'seed drill' dealy-o like the ones listed above, with a circular saw retrofitted to be the disc opener.
I would recommend a lower profile blade with a scale saw kind of tooth pattern.

If there is a lot of work to be done I would also recommend a BCS walking tractor. But I'm there biggest fan so take that advice with a pillar of salt - it's too much mechanization for some's taste. They do also produce a lawn edger, as well.

I hope this helps!
Andrew.

P.S. I think it goes with out saying that said saw is 'donated to the cause' (warranty voided, motor/bearings abused, mud slowly ruins electrical connections or plugs up exhaust, etc.)


Hi Andrew, I have a BCS tractor, the 739 I think.  There is a lot of distance to cover between those pictures and fitting it onto my tractor.  When I bought my tractor from earth tools  (I'd give them a mixed rating, I bought from them because they say how helpful they are to all BCS owners, but as their work load increases, they can't guarantee their help to folks who did not buy from them.  When I needed help they were not very helpful, at all, but they do sell good equipment, and when my friend calls them they are helpful.  Who knows if it's a case of anti what ever.  I'm just glad to have a very skilled mechanic as a friend.

But, they don't sell any attachment that would be good for open a crease for no till planting. My plans for the future include sometimes planting a row of a new kind of plant into an established perennial pasture root mat, whether for a crop of annual vegetables of some kind, or just to introduce another species into my pasture mix.  Either way, I have not found any machine to help me with that single cut kind of ground opening.  And if I could get a blade made like in your photos, what diameter and how thick of steel, and how would i get the power take off to drive that wheel/sawblade?

Thanks
 
Eric Bee
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It may be worth remembering that technically seed does not have to be buried. In nature it isn't. So in the right conditions you can just broadcast and over-seed enough and you'll be fine. Or in a small enough area you could broadcast and fling enough dirt around to offset the birds appetite. This is highly variable and no two situations are the same.

I've often thought about making a small seed drill for this exact purpose, but I would model it after the big ones. A regular seeder like the green handled one up there usually needs cultivated soil, but a drill pokes holes for the seed. Big difference. I own the seeder for the Hoss wheel hoe and cannot recommend it. In fact it sucks in all but sandy loam and well tilled ground. This type of seeder (basically a Planet Jr. ) is useless if there is any crop residue.

My approach for medium-sized areas, say an acre or two is to broadcast and then disc very very lightly -- I set the disc to just barely scrape the surface. It's not a great solution, and I would roll if I had a roller. I have to over-seed by about 30% or more.

What I'd really like is to make a drill for the wheel hoe. In response to Wayt: the difference is that with a wheel hoe you are not carrying the weight. I can wheel hoe about 4-5 times faster than with a scuffle hoe or similar, and believe me I'm wicked fast with the latter. So with a wheel hoe and a drill attachment I'd bet I could do an acre... but no more, realistically.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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