My goal is to develop a simple, general-purpose planting stick to use for planting different types of seeds. I am mainly interested in planting tree seeds, but I also like the idea of planting other things too so as to encourage diversity.
The stick is intended for people who need to put a considerable amount of seeds in the ground either as part of a re-forestation project, a small holding, or whatever.
The idea is to create a way of planting seeds:
+ That allows the person to do so at walking speed (even if it takes a bit of practise to get to that level).
+ That allows planting while remaining upright without having to stoop, or to bend down.
+ That is quick, cheap and easy to make using cheap and commonly available tools.
+ That works as a general purpose tool for various types of seeds.
+ That works with different types of soils.
+ That not only works on prepared ground, but that to some extent works on unprepared ground (i.e. forest areas that have been clear cut etc.)
+ That has a simple design which can act as a Proof of Concept which can then be customised when necessary to suit planting of specific types of seeds on specific types of ground.
Seed Planting Stick: Story so Far…
After some research I decided to use a sturdy hollow tube walking stick as the basis of the seed planting stick. I wanted something which would not be hard to find and not be expensive and there seems to be a lot of variety of walking sticks which are hollow so this seems a good place to start. I chose one which does not fold (so would not have chord through the middle) and which has button height-adjust (so no complex mechanism which might be a struggle to remove).
The walking stick I used cost less than £8.50 including postage.
For US readers something like this might do (though I have not tried it):
I made a few simple modifications to turn the walking stick in to a planting stick:
++ Temporarily remove the inside tube from the walking stick by pressing the brass height-adjustment buttons all the way in and pulling the tube all the way out.
++ If you see a nylon fitting at the top end of the inside tube. Remove this as it is closed off at one end and will block the seeds from going through. This fitting is also just a friction fit so a steady firm pull with pair of flyers removes it.
++ Re-insert the inside tube back into the outer tube of the walking stick and locate the brass height adjustment buttons on the bottom set of holes (so the stick is at maximum length).
++ Use a hacksaw to cut away 1 inch (2.5 cm) from half the diameter of the bottom end of the inside tube. (The hacksaw I used cost £1 from a “pound” shop.) The offcut should be at the front of the stick so the blade which is formed by the piece left will be at the back. (If you get it wrong you can always cut off the end of the tube and try again).
++ Hammer flat the end of the half-pipe section remaining on the inside tube so it forms a “blade”. You may want to file or sandpaper any rough edges and corners from the “blade” so you don’t risk cutting yourself in future. You may also want to round the edge of the blade (but don’t sharpen it much, or it might be classed as an offensive weapon if taken into a public area – as well as making it dangerous in use).
front and side view of “blade”
++ Drill a good sized hole in the front middle of the stick (i.e. opposite side of where the handle is sticking out). This is where the seeds go in. Drill it about 3.5 inches (9cm) from the top of the stick. (You can use the existing height-adjust holes to begin with to insert seeds, but they awkward to reach and to use because of their size and position).
Testing The Martin’s (Not) Patented Seed Planting Stick:
You are now ready for testing.
For right handed usage.
The idea is to insert the blade half way into the ground, turn the blade 90 degrees clockwise and insert a seed such that it hits the ground about the same time as the blade finishes moving. With practise it should be possible to get a fluid motion going so that planting the seed, flattening the resulting divet with the foot and carry on to the next one becomes a flow.
It definitely takes practise to get the hang of it, but initial tests were very promising. In fact the tests are so promising that I am offering the details right away without waiting to perfect the design or my planting technique – as I would like to spread the idea.
Email me your success stories or a link to a page and I’ll post about it: reg3 (at) iwp (dot) net
*You can use the rubber foot as a cover for the blade of the seed planting stick. Just squeeze the foot flat a bit as you put it on the stick so it will fit over the blade.