Planting small seeds simply: The allure of the slide hammer seeder

February 21, 2019

SALINAS, CALIFORNIA--Planting small seeds simply: The allure of the slide hammer seeder

The development of a simply made and easy-to-use planting device could make growing important herbs and beneficial insect-attracting plants significantly more efficient and effective. The low-cost tool, known as the Slide Hammer Seeder (a jab-style seeder), gives farmers and gardeners specific control in sowing plants with very small seeds.

The use and assembly of this device is documented by Eric Brennan of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in his article "The Slide Hammer Seeder: A Novel Tool for Planting Small Seeds", an open-access article published in HortTechnology.

Planting seeds by hand has been standard operating procedure since the beginning of agriculture more than 10,000 years ago. Even in the modern era, hand seeding is still important for major staple crops, especially in many parts of the developing world. Although jab-style seeders were widely used for corn in the United States during the early 1900s, their use today is primarily in research plots for agronomic crops with relatively large seeds.

However, these seeders are unsuitable for precision planting of small-seeded species that are of interest as cash crops or as "insectary plants"--those grown in high-value vegetable crops to provide pollen and nectar for beneficial insects.

To address the need for a seeder that allows the precise planting of small-seeded plants, the slide hammer seeder was developed. To make one, all the parts are available at your local hardware store at a cost of about US$32.50, and assembly can take as little as 2 hours.

Using the slide hammer seeder, seed is discharged in small quantities beneath the soil at preset depths, calculated for optimum growth potential.

Brennan adds, "I think this planter can really help farmers to accurately inter-seed important insectary plants like sweet alyssum between vegetable crops to help control aphids without pesticides. It also could be great for precise seeding of novel and nutritious vegetables such as purslane, which has very small and expensive seeds.
To view a demonstration of the Slide Hammer Seeder, follow this link:

The complete article is available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: 10.21273/HORTTECH04122-18. Or you may contact Eric Brennan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture at or call him at (831) 755-2822 for additional information.

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticulture Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticulture research, education, and application. More information at

American Society for Horticultural Science

Related Farmers Articles from Brightsurf:

New interactive tool will help farmers contain the spread of clubroot
'ClubrootTracker is an interactive tool that will help farmers locate clubroot-infected areas and can be used by farmers, researchers, and industry and government representatives to share the clubroot status of their land,' explained Edel Pérez-López, one of the plant pathologists involved in the development of this tool.

Farmers help grow water plan
Overallocation of surface water for growing food crops is shifting agriculture and other industry to use groundwater - which is much more difficult to measure and monitor.

Breeding new rice varieties will help farmers in Asia
New research shows enormous potential for developing improved short-duration rice varieties.

Popular doesn't mean influential among Cambodian farmers
Published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, their research examined the role of social network brokers - well-connected individuals within a community - in the adoption of innovative farming practices in Battambang Province in North-Western Cambodia.

Bangladeshi eggplant farmers reap rewards via genetics
Farmers in Bangladesh achieved significantly higher yields and revenues by growing insect-resistant, genetically engineered eggplant, a new Cornell study has found.

Mathematics to keep farmers on track
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology researchers use numerical simulations and frequency response analysis to model the stability of tractors on rough terrain, which may increase farmer safety and promote the automation of agriculture.

Changes in snowmelt threaten farmers in western US
Farmers in parts of the western United States who rely on snowmelt to help irrigate their crops will be among the hardest hit in the world by climate change, a new study reveals.

Small farmers sink or swim in globalization's tsunami
From a synthesis of 12 cases, researchers found when smallholder farmers are connected to faraway systems, the key is to empower them to higher agency and more livelihood opportunities.

Farmers to tackle locust swarms armed with new app
A new smartphone app to tackle pests destroying crops has been developed -- and it could soon help farmers whose lands are being decimated by swarms of locusts, something the UN has called for 'rapid action' action on.

Drones effective tools for fruit farmers
Unmanned aerial vehicles provide reliable, accurate data to growers.

Read More: Farmers News and Farmers Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to