The Earthway Seeder is a very useful tool for the for a home gardener with a large garden and it is an indispensable tool for a market gardener. The Earthway is very reasonably priced considering all the time it will save the average gardener. The seeder does a remarkable job on large seeded crops such as beans, peas, and corn, but it does struggle a bit with smaller seeded crops such as carrots, lettuce, and brassicas. To get around this, I simply use different plates than intended and thought I would share what I use in hope that it will help some gardeners or other growers out in the future.
For spinach, the radish plate works well if you want to plant spinach thinly for full size bunching spinach. If however, you are looking to plant spinach for baby spinach production, the beet plate is a fantastic choice. Most of my spinach plantings are for baby spinach, so the beet plate is my most commonly used plate for spinach.
For carrot production, I have found the carrot plate to space the carrots too far apart for my liking. Many folks simply go over each row twice with the carrot plate, but I would prefer to go over each row once, and save time. To get the carrots seeded thickly in one pass, I have been using the radish plate. If you are growing a carrot with very small seeds, this plate will definitely plant the carrots too thickly, but Nelson carrots, purchased from Johnny’s work great with this plate.
For lettuce mix production, I again use the radish plate. It plants the seeds very thickly and achieves a wonderful stand of lettuce for harvest about 28 days after planting.
Green onions are also planted with the radish plate, and it does a very good job with this plate.
I also use the Earthway to plant all of my cover crops. I use the beet plate for planting annual ryegrass, oats, winter rye, buckwheat, and hairy vetch. For larger leguminous cover crops, such as field peas, bell beans, or cowpeas, I use the pea plate. For sorghum and forage radish, I use the radish plate. Sadly, I have not found a reliable way to seed any types of clover cover crops using the Earthway…
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Are you still using the Earthway for your lettuce mix? We are looking for a seeder for our small farm. The 6 row seeder from Johnny’s just doesn’t work for our soil. I was thinking Jang, but Johnny’s is suggesting the Earthway for our lettuce mix. So looking for feedback 🙂
The earthway is the only seeder we use on our farm for direct seeding vegetable crops. We have found, through trial and error, almost all of the shortcomings of the earthway seeder can be overcome by choosing the appropriate seed plate (the optional seed plates are not optional, but necessary for planting certain crops) and by limiting the amount of seed in the hopper. We have grown Johnny’s lettuce mix for years using the radish seed plate (and from time to time the carrot seed plate if we want to conserve our seed) and it has performed beautifully. We plant 5 rows per approximately 30″ bed using the earthway seeder, and the germination and stand looks perfect. Please let us know if you have any more questions. Thanks.