by Rob Johnston

To plant large seeds in large amounts, we generally use our two-row corn planter. However, most of our crops, are small seeded, or planted in pieces too small to make setting up a corn planter practical. The implement which really comes in handy is our Planet junior Number 300-A seeder. Planet Junior has been making hand garden implements for over 100 years, and the models have hartlly changed. The 300-A has been made since the 1920s, and the current unit is nearly identical to the first ones made.

The Planet Jr. 300-A Seeder. Cumhcrlaml (¡cncial Store

We seed lettuce, beam, and everything in between. We could do just as good a job seeding by hand, but this is where the weather sets the rules. Here in Maine, considering the crops we're growing, we have to take full advantage of days with good planting weather, We might sow four crops with the Itand seeder where we would have time to sow only one by hand. The unit is made of cast iron and steel and has enough weight (over 40 pounds) to roll with good momentum. Anyone who has tried to push a plastic seeder on les>than-perfect soil can appreciate this feature.

The seeding mechanism of the 300-A is simple. A small, fluted, feed wheel inside the hopper pushes the seed through a hole in the stationary seed plate; the seed falls into the furrow made with the depth-adjustable opening plow, is covered with a down-pressure-adjustable coverer, and firmed with a concave, rear packing wheel which leaves a slight ridge over the seed for easy sprout penetration, When changing from one seed to another or varying the spacing at which the seed is dropped, the seed plate hole size is changed (there are 39 different holes from which to choose).

Of course, we do a lot of seeding by hand, especially for our trials, where we may have 200 10- or 15-foot ro'vs in a single trial. The time it takes to empty and refill the hopper on the Planet Junior seeder is impractical on these short rows of many different varieties. However, we often use the seecier to make rows for hand planting.

* Reprinted with permission from Tools for Agriculture: A Buyer's Guide to Low Cost Agricultural Implements, by John Boyd (London: Intermediate Technology Publications, Ltd.).

For the first row, we stretch a line between stakes ami ¡tin the seeder along this line. The seeder has an adjustable row marker which marks the next row, so if we get the first row straight (easy when using a tight line), all the other rows in the plaining will be straight too.

To make the furrows prior to hand sowing we use our Planet Junior garden plow, one of the high-wheel types that you find almost everywhere, which are made by numerous companies, I'm not sure about the other brands, but ours comes with three difterent-si/ed furrows. For large seed such as peas and potatoes, we use tlte moldboard plow attachment. After sowing the seed, the plow is run first down one side of the furrow, then back in the opposite direction down the other side, closing the furrow and covering tire seed neatly and very quickly. It is certainly a whole lot faster than using a hand hoe. For small seeds such as carrots, we use the small cultivator tooth on the high-wheel plow and then cover the seed by hand during sowing.


A hand-operated jab planter.

For at least a century, most of the corn in this country was planted with jab planters. Two variations on the same idea were built, but both of them are basically glorified dibble sticks. The lower steel blade of the planter was jabbed into the ground, and then, i>y moving the handles, three or four kernels oi corn were dropped from the planting box through a planting tube into the ground opened up by tfie blades. When the point of the planter was pulled out of the ground, the dirt fell around the seed.

Even after these planters were more or less obsolete, farmers used them to replant hills of

Cene Logsdon demonstrating the use of the jab planter.

com skipped by the horse-drawn planter.

Today, a jab planter can come in handy for inter planting. For example, if you have a row of com up and growing and want to plant pole beans beside the cornstalks, the hand planter is just what you need. You can walk along the row, plant the seeds where you will, and not disturb the soil around the already growing corn.

Fancy new models of the jab planter are still available and are used in research plot planting. They are available from manufacturers and suppliers of seed industry equipment. Old, used jab planters are often available at farm sales. You might pay 55 for one, or you might pay §35—you can never tell at an auction.

north american sources of hand planters

Jab-Type Hand Planter

The Allan Machine Company has three models of jab planters which are hand fed, spring operated, have a metal barrel, and will adjust to different planting depths.

Planter Corp Hand Machine
ALMACO Slim-Style Jab Planter model SHP-NP.A Allan Machine Co.


This is a slim-style unit and has a narrow, single barrel weighing -11/2 pounds with a 1%-inch by %-inch barrel opening.

Model HP-SHA

This is a single-barrel model which weighs 4 pounds and has a wooden back and a barrel opening of 2y<> inches by 3 inches at the top.

Model HP-DBA

The third model has a double- or divided-barrel style and comes with a wood back.

ALMACO Single-Barrel Jab Planter model HPSBA Allan Machine Co.

Allan Machine Co. P.O.Box 112 Ames, IA 50010

Potato Planter

Made of lightweight, corrosion-resistant ma-

terials, this unit plants potatoes at adjustable depths. It has a one-year guarantee.

terials, this unit plants potatoes at adjustable depths. It has a one-year guarantee.

Hand Jab potato pluhter. Esmay Products, Inc.

Esmay Products, Inc. P.O. Box 547, Maple St. Bristol, IN 46507

Jab-Type Hand Planter

Burrows offers two models, both made o£ sheet metal and hardwoods. A spring-operated, planting depth adjustment is provided. The 4-pound units are approximately 33 inches high and have an opening 2y2 inches by 3 inches at the top of the barrel.

Burrows Equipment Co. 1316 Sherman Ave. Evanston, IL 60204

Maquinas Agricolas Avenida Brazil No. 232 Marilia, Brazil

The Plantmaster

To operate the plantmaster, you select one of a range of seed-metering discs according to the seed size, adjust the foot, place the unit on the soil, and depress the handle. A seed is automatically inserted into the soil. Up to 2,500 seeds can be planted per hour at a depth between 6 and 66 millimeters.

Vandertnolen Corp. 1 IS Dorsa Ave. Livingston, NJ 07039

Richmond Gibson, Ltd. Salisbury Rd., Downtown Salisbury Wiltshire, U.K.

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  • mathias
    How to draw a jab planter?
    7 months ago

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