FarmHack Tools: Earthway Seeder modification

This project comes from:

Chris who runs a wonderful and informative blog

Who the project is for:

Vegetable and/or Flower Growers, Small Scale Farmers

Range of how much it might cost to build:

$90 for the Earthway (only if you don’t have one already) and the cost of the quick adjustment is cheap, most likely under $10

What skills are necessary to complete it:

Just about anyone can do it. You may need to introduce yourself to a saw or drill if you haven’t before, but otherwise it’s a very accessible project.

Summary of the project:

The Earthway seeder is a great tools considering it costs only around $90, and allows you to seed a huge variety of seed types and sizes.  But sometimes when using small round seeds, like arugula, the seeds work their way behind the seed plate, which can begin to pulverize the seed, and keep the seed plate from rotating properly.  This modification helps with that.

How to build it:

Take a 3″ PVC end cap. Saw about an inch or so off the end, basically leaving you with a shorter cap. Drill a hole in the center. Then remove the central bolt holding the seed plate assembly to the seeder and replace it with a 1/4″ bolt that is 2 1/4″ long. The bolt should go all the way through the seeder and the new cap. Place a wingnut on the end (for easy plate removal/replacement), and tighten just snug enough to allow plate to still spin freely.

This fix basically just keeps the seed plate against the body of the seeder and helps prevent crushed seeds. As with most things it takes some adjusting, but once you get it, it works like a charm.

How to use it well once you’ve built it:

Use the Earthway as you normally would, but when you change seed plates, you’ll need to unscrew the wing nut and take off the pvc cap.  But that’s a small price to pay for the difference that this will make keeping the seeder from jamming up.

5 Replies to “FarmHack Tools: Earthway Seeder modification”

  1. Earthway’s have always been a part of our farm. I wonder if some of it’s tricks are known to everyone? You can use the beet plate for zinnias. You can put scotch tape over the backside of some of the holes to vary spacing. They can be ganged up to plant a whole bed. Spare parts are readily available, so a new belt and new seed plates can renovate one very cheaply. They are often found unused at garage sales.

    This idea above is absolutely great! Addresses the most common problem with Earthways.

  2. I just completed this “Farm Hack”. It was easy and inexpensive. I haven’t used the Earthway since the change, but I can say that if I was going to do the project again, I would cut off as much of the cap as possible and see if I could have a slightly shorter bolt. If the end cap could be just half and inch deep or so, that would be great. It seemed a bit tight between the end of the bolt and the edge of the seed hopper. So far so good, though and I’m excited to put it to work!

  3. Nice!
    Still missing a part :
    How to build your own seeder?
    I was thinking about a bike, using the inside part of the frame as the seedbox, the demultiplication (gears..) to ajust the seeding rate, and a rotating brush with different hairs density and sizes for the seed selection.. then you need a disk to cut the rootmat and a 8ligt) subsoiler implement..
    (in the idea of pasture cropping/no till like in these links:
    have fun!

  4. Check out the modification I did wih the Earthway Seeder. A common problem is that the handle is so short and I wanted to get away from the belt drive which can slip. So I built this, the handle is adjustable to what ever is comfortable.(Old Bike Handle). Also I changed the belt drive to a Chain drive for no more slippage, and the fatter tires make for a better ride.

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