- My Seed Planter
I was able to cobble together a hand held seeder out of PVC pipe and a few other pieces of hardware. I’m expecting that it will work for medium to large-sized seeds like beans, corn, peas, pumpkins, squash, and, most importantly for me, sunflowers.
Here’s how it went.
- Cutting the Bottom
With a table saw, I shaped one end of a 1/2 inch PVC pipe to a V-shaped point. I’ll call this the downpipe and its length will depend on how tall you are. I was shooting for it to end up a little above waist level, and I’m fairly tall, so mine ended up being 41 inches long.
- The small piece was part of the big pipe.
Out of a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe I shaped a strip to close off one side of the V-point at the bottom. I used PVC cement to attach it, and I’m thinking that it may be the weakest link in the machine. Time will tell if it will withstand repeated jabs into the soil.
To close off the other side of the V and, more importantly, to open and let a seed drop out, I fashioned a flipper out of a piece of steel. Getting a useful piece of steel is probably the hardest part of the project. You want to be able to bend it, but not so easily that it will come unbent halfway down a new row of corn. It helps if you’re a bit of a pack rat and collect odd materials for future use, but hardware stores will probably have something you can use. Using a jig saw is an easy way cut the steel, but a hack saw is fine too.
- Flipper Cut Out Being Drilled
The flipper starts out being cross-shaped. The side arms are drilled for a pivot bolt and then bent down to wrap down over the pipe. The top arm is then bent up to make a lever to attach a pull rod. This rod will pull the flipper open to drop out the seed.
Some shiny paint has been added and you can see how the flipper fits on the bottom and attaches to the pull rod.
- The business end of the planter
- The Top End
The funnel is to guide a dropped a seed into the pipe, and next to it is a cup made out of a 2 inch PVC coupling sitting on a 2″ male x 1/2″ female PVC bushing. A 4 oz Yoplait yogurt container fits perfectly into the coupling, closing off the hole in its bottom and it holds the seeds.
The handle is made of two parts. The lower piece is attached to the top of the pull rod and to a spring, so that squeezing it upward pulls the flipper open and drops a seed. When it’s released, the spring pulls it back down, closing the flipper. This piece is made of 1 inch PVC so as to be big enough to wrap around the 1/2 inch downpipe. The ends of this were angled in the table saw in the same way as the bottom of the downpipe.
- Parts Layout
The individual pieces are shown above, and all together below.
Update, June 18, 2012
The seeder has been working quite well, but there are a couple of things that I would do differently next time.
First, the seed holding cup is too deep and too narrow. When I reach in, it’s hard to grasp the seeds with the tips of my fingers.
Second, the two machine screws that go through the middle of the drop tube can sometimes catch bigger seeds, especially flat ones like pumpkin seeds. Once one gets caught, the next ones tend to get caught too, and before you know it, you’ve gone a few feet down the row with no seeds planted.
If I get ambitious someday, I may redo these two things, but if you are going to build one, it would be worth doing them a little bit differently. Maybe a bigger diameter drop tube would be a good idea, so the seeds wouldn’t get caught as easily. The seed cup could be sawed off to make it half as tall, and that would probably solve that little problem. If anyone has other ideas, I’d love to see them here.