I’m all about back-saving gardening tools, thanks to a back injury I suffered as a kid. Many of the tools I’ve found to help me keep from getting bent out of shape,
as it were, are geared toward folks twice my age. After all, it’s expected that you’ll lose some mobility as you age. While it can be a bit disheartening, shopping on sites geared toward the octogenarian set, I have learned to instead be thankful that such products exist at all!
Of course, there are also plenty of garden tools not geared toward the older set, but rather just aimed at folks who have larger gardens than I do. For example, the Earthway Precision Garden Seeder is designed to allow you to plant loads and loads of seeds quickly and efficiently, in long straight rows every time. But do you know what else it does? It lets me plant almost my entire garden without having to spend hours hunched over in impossible positions! So while I may lose the intended efficiency of scale by only planting two or three rows of any given veggie, I save many, many trips to the chiropractor – and that, my friends, is priceless!
What I love about the Earthway Garden Seeder
It’s reasonably priced – When I looked into seeders, I was appalled by some of the prices and complexity I found. Finding a reasonably-priced seeder which didn’t require a tractor to operate began to look like an impossible task, until a friend mentioned her Earthway. She was tickled pink with it, and I almost fell off my chair when I found it cost well under a hundred bucks! (Well, it does if you get it from Amazon, like I did; I’ve seen it on other sites for $150+.) Compared to the thousand-dollar pricetags I found on almost every other seeder on the market, it seemed too good to be true. Thankfully, it wasn’t.
It’s versatile – it comes with six different seed plates, which means I could plant many different types of seeds right out of the box. The seed plates that come with it are: sweet corn, beans, peas, carrots, beets and radishes. However, don’t let the specific names fool you; since the seed plates are named by the size of their seed and the spacing you’ll want on the ground, you can often use one plate for more than one type of seed. For example, I could plant not only carrots with the carrot plate, but also onions and tomatoes. I appreciate the extra value this gives me for my money.
It works the way it’s supposed to – I have never owned one of the large, fancy seeders, but this seeder still does everything I would expect a seeder to do. It not only creates the furrows and drops the seed into them at just the right spacing, but also covers over the freshly planted seeds and even has a little arm to mark your next row out as you plant.
It’s just the right size – I’m 5’5″ tall. This means the handles are tall enough that I can grasp them easily without having to hunch over as I walk. It’s also very lightweight, so I don’t need my husband’s help dragging it out of the shed. I even assembled it myself (that took some tools & some time, but I was happy to not have to bug him)!
It’s easy to maintain – Since the seed plates come right out for swapping, it’s easy to rinse them off after use. I can also hose down the rest of the seeder when I’m done for the day (NOT between seed batches though – wet seed would likely make a mess of this thing), leave it out in the sun to dry, then give it a couple of squirts of WD-40 to keep it lubed, and put it away. (Yes, I realize WD-40 is not the most earth-friendly lubricant around, but I do my spraying on the concrete pad in front of my shed, not over my garden soil!)
A Couple of Issues to Watch For
Walking behind the Earthway Garden Seeder takes a little getting used to. The back wheel extends back almost as far as the handles, so I tend to accidentally kick it as I push it along, which makes for some rather uneven planting! I have learned to walk a bit off to the side, which alleviates this problem. But if I was going to do a large number of rows with it, I’d probably spend more time learning how to straddle the back wheel so as to avoid twisting my back for long periods.
Make sure you go over your soil very thoroughly with your tiller before you attempt to plant with this seeder. If you have to push hard to make your furrow, you’re doing it wrong (and will most likely wind up with a mess). This is no clodbuster, and its lightweight materials are not suitable for digging into packed soil. But I’ve never had any trouble going through freshly tilled dirt at an easy walking pace.
Considering its low pricetag, I was actually expecting a much less sturdy piece of equipment. I’ve used my Earthway Garden Seeder through two growing seasons so far, and it has held up very well, and looks as though it will give me many, many more years of uncomplaining service. Like anything, it requires a little care, but as my daddy taught me: take care of your tools, and they’ll take care of you!