Contributors to this thread:
Small Seeds- using a hand spreader?
It seems like I’m always spreading too many seeds (like turnip seeds). I use a small green plastic hand spreader. I can’t see where or how much seed has been spread.
Do you have any suggestions in getting the right amount of seeds when using a hand spreader?
Mix them with something. I have used floor dry in the past.
I have a grain drill with small seed box, but still use an over the shoulder bag seeder for small seeds like clover and brassicas. Always till and use a cultipacker for best results
mine is earthway. Saw one that is a plastic bottle that is probable even better
I split my seed into 2 equal amounts and only put half of it in the seeder at one time. Small seed can be tough to get right. You’d swear nothing is coming out of the seeder. I will try to spread 1/2 of it going east-west, then the other 1/2 going north-south. It may take you 3 or 4 passes to finish, but you get a more consistent seeding that way, IMO.
As far as telling where you’ve been, I go by my footprints in the dirt, which aren’t always easy to see. With clover, I’m not concerned about it being seeded a little heavy (other than it costing a bit more) Brassicas on the other hand, are pretty critical to get them seeded in the right amounts.
Mixing them with another media is good idea as well. It works especially well with light, fluffy seeds, such as CRP seeding.
I mix with cracked corn or grits to dilute.
I mix small seeds with cheap cat litter which is primarily clay, I believe. And I go over the area 2 or 3 times to make sure I get good coverage. Works for me.
What Troy and dizzy said. I don't cut mine with anything, but I use a Solo spreader and if you hold your hand in front of the plate for a few seconds you can get an idea of how much seed is coming out by how much is hitting your hand. It's important to go in opposite directions to get uniform results. I only sew small plots with a hand seeder.
When I sew large plots I use a cone spreader on my tractor. I've even sewed Bermuda grass seeds with mine and got good, even coverage. It doesn't get much smaller than Bermuda seed. In the past, covering a large area, I've mixed small seeds in with my fertilizer, and to make sure I get even coverage I barely open my gate and go over the area multiple times in all directions. This assures good coverage even with a cone spreader on a tractor.
Also, unless you’re wanting to look like Popeye, I’d recommend getting a good hand seeder. I’ve tried a bunch of them, and this one is the best one I’ve ever used. The shoulder strap could be a little better, but overall it works great. It sits on the ground so it makes it easy to pour your seed or fertilizer into the hopper without needing three hands or spilling things all over. I also rig up a “Jethro Bodine” type rope belt around my waist and hook it under the spreader to take some of the weight off of your shoulders, especially if you’re spreading fertilizer or filling completely full.
I use a earthway hand seeder. Then I only spread at 50% recommended opening setting and cover the area 2 times. Learnt this from a farmer when the 1st time I ran out of seed before done. I do the same 50% opening when spreading fertilizer.
Miloganite is what I use for mixing smaller seeds such as Little Bluestem
All good tips above. Mixing small seeds with larger are a decent way to spread small seed but as T-Roy said cross cut seeding pattern will allow even spreading and is beneficial. Sometimes the larger Seed requires 1/2” dirt over Seed with a drag while a smaller seed like rape or clover requires only Seed to soil contact by pressing in the soil with a cultipacker. If you mix large Seed with small you should compromise the process best you can to accommodate both requirements to ensure good germination of both.
If possible, I prefer not to seed small seeds and larger seeds together, unless mixed in with another media. Lots of the seed mixes have varying sizes of seeds all mixed together. You have to open the hopper wide enough to accommodate the largest seeds and, in doing some, it allows the small seeds to feed out too quickly, IMO.
Also, to deerplotter’s point, some seeds need to be covered deeper than others.
Probably not what you want to hear, but last season when planting my wheat field, I added some turnip seed and radish seed to the top of each little hopper full. Accidentaily got a very even spread of all three seeds.
sand, mix small seeds with sand
I use one to spot seed Roundup Ready alfalfa and even tho they are died purple it's tough. Takes the smallest opening and when I check, there they are.
Spread some cardboard and walk over it seeding. Go back and see how you have done. Your concrete drive pad would be even better.