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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.
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Hand planting seeds vs machine planting seeds?

Has anyone noticed if machine planting seeds works better than planting seeds by hand?

I have noticed after planting corn & beans about 50% to 70% germinate and grow in a week then I have to replant places where nothing grew. I always buy new seeds from farmers co-op every year. I wonder if I am not being careful enough to make sure all seeds are planted exactly the same depth. Sometimes I save seeds I still have problems with some seeds not growing.

I see several seed planters online I wonder if some are better than others? Are machines good at planting seed all at the exact same depth. Are machines more trouble than they are worth for planting 1 row of beans 40 ft long or 8 rows of corn 40 ft long each?

I enjoy crawling through the garden on my hands and knees it is FUN not work to me but I am often in a race with mother nature to get seeds planted before the next rain. I am a lot slower than I use to be.

What is best seed depth for corn & beans.?

I usually till the soil, pull a string for each straight row, hoe a row for seeds, plant seeds 1 by 1, then cover them up with loose soil. If i till soil then it rains before I plant seeds soil will crust over and be hard on the surface after it dries out so I have to till again. Do planter machines work if soil gets a bit hard after rain or will I need to tilled again?

I'm not 100% sure why so many seeds never grow I look at the farmer up the road his corn is planted 4" apart and every seed comes up and he plants in 50 degree weather usually 3 weeks before me. If I plant sweet corn in 50 degree weather nothing grows. I wait until soil warms up to 65 degrees to plant seeds.
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Last edited by Gary350 on Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Hand planting seeds vs machine planting seeds?

Just as a note — when I plant peas, corn, or beans, critters and birds almost always dig them up, partially or wholesale.

I have planted corn, walked away and inside, then looked out the window to see chipmunk carefully digging up one, hopping or crawling over to the next spot, and digging up that one... stuffing cheek pouches. The result looked like dimples left from when I carefully planted the corn according to desired spacing and not at all like something had stolen them all. — This is part of the reason I pre-germinate, then start corn until about 2-4 inches tall with roots up to 6 inches long (another is to plant EXACTLY where I want them with no gaps).

peas and beans — I pre germinate then plant them which seems to result in less problems from chipmunks, but they are then subject to birds like grackles yanking the sprouts up and out — I cover them with a low tunnel - insect screen or netting until big enough for birds not to bother them.

But you can’t plant pre-germinated (softened) seeds with the seeder machines....

Of course my garden is small, so it’s possible to take care of them this way, but also BECAUSE it’s small and limited, I can’t afford losses — From what I’ve read I suppose with a whole field, the loss can be quantitatively small compared to the the overall volume harvested.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Hand planting seeds vs machine planting seeds?

I use the Earthway Precision Garden Seeder. Does a nice job.

For planting corn, I cover every other hole in the disc with masking tape so it spreads the seed out more.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/- Plant a Garden

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