Farm like your life depends on it!
Guest post by Alex K.
When I first moved to the Midwest back in the late 90’s, I used to talk to a lot to the old timers at small livestock shows. One of the things I found interesting was the ways their parents and grandparents farmed. So much of what they knew was a lost art since almost no one used manual corn planters or tobacco planters in the 1990’s. You could only find these items at antique stores or auctions. From the stories I was told and what I could research, the corn planter was a major revolution to small farmers. It allowed a single farmer to plant around four acres of corn seed a day in a plowed field. I have had some experience planting trees and other plants when I lived way up North, but I used shovels and planting bars. Using the right tool can really make a difference.
With some of the smaller seeds you can broadcast/throw such as annual rye grass, cereal rye, turnips, rapeseed and canola. However, the larger seeded plants like corn, beans, squash, etc. need to be planted in the ground. If mechanical equipment were not available, having the right planting tools will become very important.
Let me introduce you to the “Jab Planters”
What was most interesting was that Jab planters did not disappear. They are still used in many third world countries on small farms where farming is done with only hand tools. I also found that I could obtain these in USA.
The planter is just pressed into the ground, then the solid rod (with the ball on top) is lifted a short distance, and a seed is dropped down the bent tube.
Easy-Plant Jab-Type Planter – Farmers have relied on the Easy-Plant for years. A hand planter for corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, and sunflowers on open ground or through plastic mulch.
The Green Seeder – The GreenSeeder is a hand-planting device originally developed by Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma to improve the corn, and other crop planting methods of upland farmers in the third-world, who are farming on marginal lands. The GreenSeeder helps marginalized smallholder farmers by decreasing the effort of planting, and decreasing the treated seed to skin contact for farmers. The planter can also be used to make appropriate side dressing applications of dry fertilizer next to the growing corn plants. This planter makes it possible to easily apply fertilizer near the growing plant roots, which results in less, and more efficient fertilizer use by farmers. This means better crop yields and less fertilizer runoff, which is better for the environment.
If it really came down to it….
and you had to grow the majority of your food, do you truly have the tools necessary to support yourself…family…community? The three jab planters are not the only commercial planters available. A simple Google search will yield about 10 brands to choose from. If you have the land to support a large farm, you should seriously consider adding this to your preparations.