Not sure if this is the place for it (vs. beginning garden section) but most likely followers of this forum will be able to contribute more.
Went from a small garden last year to a much bigger one this year. Not for market, but for personal use. Fresh produce, canning and freezing, plus stuff to give away to friends and family.
For some reason I got the idea in my head that I needed a garden seeder. Had never used one of any type, so did the usual stuff......checked out online reviews, youtubes, etc. and in the end, purchased a Hoss Wheel Hoe package with the seeder attachment. So far, I've not used the thing in "hoe" mode......only the seeder.
First impression? Again, the only thing I have to compare to (other than a farm tractor pulling a corn planter or grain drill) is digging rows and seeding by hand. So the first thing I noticed is how fast this thing plants. As in about 10X the length of row in about 1/10th the time. If you were only doing a couple 50' rows, you could do that OK with a hoe and go. But before you could get 1/2 the first row laid out, you would be done with the planter. On the other hand, if you are only planting a 10' to 20' row something for a small home garden, it's hardly worth the effort to get the thing out. Just scratch out a row and go. The point being I don't know how large of a garden a person needs to justify one of these planters of any type, but it would have to be on the large side of a personal garden. The average person growing for table produce from a home garden doesn't need one. And even if you do have one, it's only going to work for seeded stuff. Transplants like tomatoes are still done by hand. BTW, total area I'm now planting is about 40' wide x 100' long. Not all of it is seed crops.
Second issue was the first time I used it was early in the spring when I attempted to plant peas in an area freshly broken out from grass sod, so it still had a lot of grass root clumps. Since this has a fixed opener vs. disk openers, it would constantly drag up clumps of root wads and clog up. Lesson learned is it won't plant in a trashy seed bed. A planter with disk openers might, but not with the fixed opener. Lesson learned was these things need a clean, well prepared seed bed to work well. I also tried using it for a short row of spinach. By short, I mean a single 20 foot row. I screwed up somehow, as almost none of it came up. By comparison, the stuff I planted by hand is about ready to start picking. That was discouraging.
Third issue is I found the seed metering on my Hoss to be less than precise. When you study how these work, the Hoss and perhaps the Yang TD-1 seeder have horizontal rotating plates. On the Hoss, the seed drops into the seed plate hole, which then rotates over the drop hole, seed drops by gravity through to the ground where it is buried. For this to work, seed hole has to be large enough the seed is a loose fit or it will bind and stay with the plate past the drop hole for another revolution. So with hole large enough to assure all seed drops, what I'm finding is I get a few double drops if the seed is irregular on the small side. No worries.......I do this by hand now and then too. But a related issue is the seed has to have time to drop. It is only over the drop tube for a short period of time. So what I learned was I had to slow way down to give seed a chance to drop. Accuracy went up when I did, meaning no skips. Still plants way fast, but not as fast as I could walk. So for better accuracy, SLOW DOWN. I plan to try this again on spinach and will SLOW DOWN for it next time.
Also, for really small seeds like carrots and lettuce, these are nearly too small for use with mechanical planters unless you go to pelleted seed, which is almost impossible to find locally. Most of that has to be found mail order and is limited as to variety.
Other than that, I've had no issues with it. Covers well. Press wheel works well. Depth is easily adjustable. And it's easy to push. Actually, it is a joy to use. I think once it and I come to an understanding of proper depth, correct plate size and SPEED for the crop being planted, I'll be OK. I could double or triple what I"m doing now and it would be no more effort as far as planting is concerned. Harvesting and what to do with it all would become the major problems after that.
But since my experience with the HOSS, I've also looked at the Earthway 1001-B seeder to see how they compare. Not the quality, but how they work. On the Earthway and the Jang JP-1 seeders, the seed plates rotate on a vertical axis. The Earthway seed plates have cups that pass through the seed reservoir and as they rise up, pick up the seed, which then passes a long slot near the top of the plate's rotation where the seed has ample time to drop into the elongated slot behind the plate, then tumble into the drop tube. Some say though, you have to "lean" the planter over to the right to improve seed pickup and drop. Again, seed fills the cups in the plate from the side as the cups dip through the seed reservoir. The plates on the Jang JP seeders are not really plates at all......more like rotating drums, with depressions on the edge of the drum for seeds to fall into. On this version of the Jang, the seed reservoir rides on top of the edge of the drum to there is nearly 100% assurance the seed will drop into the dip or depression in the drum and pass on towards the drop hole. On the small seed sizes, these are said to work so well that planting speed is not an issue with them. There are videos with users pushing those at almost a run. The Jang TD seeders have the horizontal plate similar to the HOSS but have a bit more of a slot to work with.
So for cost, Earthway is entry level around $100. Hoss in the middle and Jang and similar way, way on up there at $600 to $700 and up, depending on options and how many of the expensive seed wheels you need. Hard for a home grower to justify a Jang, but if money is no object.............
Also, on the Jang, the JP is said to be for small seeds. The TD is for larger stuff like corn, peas, beans, etc.
Anyway, I would be interested to hear what other's experience is and how they are using their planters. Also, how much area you are planting.