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on June 26, 2006
While this is a good tool on the whole -- and not too expensive either -- it still isn't for every gardener nor for every purpose in the garden. To remove all doubt, perhaps it should not go without saying that this is not a tool for making hills for melons, squash, or zukes. It will not help you with transplants such as tomatoes, nor will it handle seed potatoes. No, this seeder is for rows of things like beans and corn, and in these cases it shines. I still think, however, that you have to be planting a pretty big garden to make it worth your time to set-up the Earthway seeder, learn to use it, store it, and maintain it.

On the pro side, for instance, I used my new Earthway seeder to plant more than 700 row-feet of popcorn. Wow! The Earthway seeder practically paid for itself that day, since it allowed me to plant the entire plot in less than 45 minutes and with no bending over! I also used it to plant plots of field corn, beans, and beets.

Here are my notes, for what they're worth:

1.) Have freshly tilled, fine, debris-free soil. It is difficult to push the seeder through crusted soil or anything with too many lumps in it, and you won't get those perfectly straight rows if you're struggling just to move forward. Also, too much surface trash will be a problem for the little chain that drags behind and covers the seed. Hint: do "dry runs" with the seeder at the proper depth, but without seed in the bin. This will give you a sense of how well it's going to work before you commit your seed, and it helps to mark your rows in advance too.

2.) Have enough seed, and watch the seed plate closely as it turns. If the seed bin gets low, the pockets in the seed plates will often fail to scoop up the seeds in a regular fashion. You'll end up with a lot of skips. Of course, if you're not buying your seed at least ¼ pound at a time, I'm not sure why you'd want this tool anyhow.

3.) Select your seed plate carefully, and if needed test it with the seed before use. (Attach a plastic bag under the seeder or something.) For example, I had a limited quantity of small soup beans. I popped in the bean plate and made two rows. Before the end of the second row, however, I was out of seed, which should not have been the case. I didn't figure this out till after the seeds sprouted: that seed plate scooped up those small beans two at a time and double-planted the first row, leaving insufficient seed for the second row.

4.) If you are considering the Fert-A-Ply attachment for the seeder, re-think that. I did not realize till the attachment arrived that I could not use it at the same time as I planted -- meaning that it took re-configuring the seeder and another full set of passes to apply an amendment to my rows. Also, the construction and the few moving parts of the attachment are extremely chintzy. I could not get mine adjusted well and used quite a bit more expensive material than I intended.

5.) The assumption for the Earthway seeder is that your seed is dry. If you like to soak your seeds before planting, or if you want to wet-innoculate things like green beans before planting, I don't think this is the tool for those cases.

6.) I have not tried the seeder with pelleted seeds of any kind, but I bet it would work well for that. Again, pick your seed plate carefully.

7.) Of course, straight rows are an advantage for mechanized cultivation equipment in your garden or even for zipping through the rows with a wheel hoe or high-wheel cultivator. Even if you're not obsessive about straight rows, however, this seeder still can be a time- and back-saver.

I hope this helps you to make a more informed choice.
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on July 10, 2006
First of all, I'm a gardener from way back. I helped my mom weed her flowers when I was still in the womb. I love garden gadgets and all things bliss-enhancing. When I was a teenager my grandfather bought the first incarnation of the Earthway Precision Garden Seeder and it was love at first shove. Not only does it plow the furrow, it plants the seeds at a precise depth and covers them up, it also marks the next row for you so that your garden doesn't sprout into a psychadelic homage to 1970's acid waves. I love, love, love this little jigger! It clogs from time to time, but if you're watching every perfect little seed get tucked away neatly into it's new earthly bed, you'll catch it before you have to re-plant the entire garden. What took my father and me 2 hours last year to do by hand, we did in under 15 mintues using this little gem. An entire garden planted in 15 minutes! And not only that, but we hand-sowed a 1/4 acre plot of corn in under 25 mintues, stopping to pass off and admire the absolute fantastical spectacle of it all as it was happening. LOVE this thing!
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on May 3, 2012
I want to start this review by telling you this product is fairly unique. There are only 2-3 companies making this type of seeder and the Earhway model is very popular and well promoted. The idea behind it is great and allows any untrained person to plant row crops in a competent way.

The problem is the implementation, namely the cheapness of the machine. It is made from the cheesiest aluminum available that has no rigidity whatsoever. If flexes and bends in all directions at the slightest touch or wind blow. The holder that is supposed to hold the spacing arm when not in use, is a sad joke. It is made of plastic and held by two tiny plastic triangles that fit in holes drilled in the sides of the hadle arms. The hadle arms are the flimsy aluminum that can't hold their shape or position, and as a consequence, the ill-fitting plastic holder pops out every thirty seconds (on a good day).

In addition, the spacing arm is too light. It's primary function is to ride along the dirt and leave behind a line that is parallel to your first planted row. You are supposed to follow this line when planting the second row, and the next line when planting the third. In theory this is fantastic, but in practice, the arm is too light and barely leaves any mark in the dirt. Maybe at the beach it would leave a mark in the sand, but not in my dirt patch.

Summary: the tool is a great idea. It may work if you are in a pinch. However, there are better devices out there. Precision Products makes one that seems to be sturdier and is available from Home Depot, while makes a great seeder attachment for their wheel hoe. If you buy the wheel hoe and the seeder attachment, you are set for life, being able to use the same tool for planting and for cultivating and maintaining your vegetable patch. Jhang TD1 is probably the Cadillac of seeders, it is super well made in Korea, can be chain-ganged into up to 12 units sets and can be towed by your ATV or tractor to plant multi-acre-size lots even.

Conclusion: If you can afford to spend 300 bucks or more, buy a Jhang Seeder (see Johnny's Seeds). If you want a more versatile tool, buy the Hoss wheel hoe and seeder attachment, the best bang for your buck. The Home-depot seeder and this Earthway unit are about the same in cheapness, but the Home Depot one seems sturdier. I am only giving Earthway 2 stars because they cheapened the materials to such a point that the unit is no longer a viable tool.
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on November 27, 2006
I have a fairly big garden, so I decided to make my life a little easier next spring, and thus I bought this seeder. However, so far, it's not what I thought I would be getting as far as a truly precision planter is concerned. The seeds dropped irratically and/or popped out of the bin because the plates would bind up then suddenly spring loose. I used different sized plates trying to find that exact match with the same results. I contacted the factory by email (their response was very quick) and was told to use bee's wax and soap to make it work correctly. For the price of the unit, I expected something with less "after-market engineering" required by me to make it funtion as advertised. I refuse to admit defeat, so I'm keeping it and will continue to practice with it until spring. If it or I don't get better, I know where you can get a used one cheap next summer!
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on April 7, 2008
My friend has one of these and I bought it on his suggestion. It works pretty well. I have a garden that is over an acre. 77 rows, most of which are 200 ft. long. If the ground is loose, it is wonderful. My problem is that a lot of my garden is mostly clay and makes rather large clods. The seeder is hard to manage over rough dirt, but still easier than sowing by hand. I consider it to be a time saver and worth the money.
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on September 2, 2000
This is an excellent product and it makes short work of planting your garden. The planter is very efficient and makes super straight rows once you get started. I planted six rows of sweet corn and three rows of beans in less than 5 minutes.
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on April 23, 2008
A wonderful tool for the home vegetable gardner. The seed plates that come with the seeder will cover most gardeners' needs, and you can purchase optional seed plates with your planter that should cover most any other application. The only negative I have found is that if you plant in freshly tilled, plowed, loose soil your seeds will wind up being planted much deeper than the setting you choose. A solution would be to lightly pack the soil before planting. All in all a real handy, well designed, and effective addition to a gardners' arsenal. (and it will save many a backache)
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on January 2, 2013
I bought this product to help me with my plantings of vegetable crops. The product works pretty good. I purchased the optional plates for the other crops. The one problem that I had with this is that the chain that is supposed to cover the seeds does not always work. It has a difficult time moving heavier soils. The resolution was a couple of nuts and bold through the chain to add weight.

I would recommend this product if your are planting multiple rows.
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on February 16, 2010
I've had one of these for two planting seasons. It has a plastic plate that scoops up seeds from the bin and drops them down through a drill below the soil line. Different kinds of seeds require their own plates. Because the plate is made of plastic it flexes and seeds can get trapped behind it. I think metal plates would work better. You have to keep a close eye on the mechanism to catch it when it malfunctions, which it will, trust me. I find it difficult watching the mechanism closely and running a straight row. I have used it to create a furrow and then I manually drop the seeds into ground. I had high hopes for this that weren't realized.
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on April 28, 2008
This product greatly reduces the time and effort to plant seeds. However, the suggested wheel selections for each seed type isn't correct. For example, I use the wheel for beets to plant beans. I did not use the beet wheel for planting beets as it would deposit way too many seeds (each beet seed is really 4 seeds). The workmanship on the wheels was lacking. There was way too much mold flash so that some slots would not scoop up seeds. The drag chain, that is suppose to close the furrow, is too light and doesn't close it in heavier soils.
This product is in need of further engineering.
I suggest that, before taking this to the garden, test runs with the desired seed and wheel be done to see how that wheel works with the seed and that the seed spacing is as desired.
All in all, this still beats the hoe and rake method of planting
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