I was able to cobble together a hand held seeder out of PVC pipe and a few other pieces of hardware. I’m expecting that it will work for medium to large-sized seeds like beans, corn, peas, pumpkins, squash, and, most importantly for me, sunflowers.
Here’s how it went.
With a table saw, I shaped one end of a 1/2 inch PVC pipe to a V-shaped point. I’ll call this the downpipe and its length will depend on how tall you are. I was shooting for it to end up a little above waist level, and I’m fairly tall, so mine ended up being 41 inches long.
Out of a piece of 4 inch PVC pipe I shaped a strip to close off one side of the V-point at the bottom. I used PVC cement to attach it, and I’m thinking that it may be the weakest link in the machine. Time will tell if it will withstand repeated jabs into the soil.
To close off the other side of the V and, more importantly, to open and let a seed drop out, I fashioned a flipper out of a piece of steel. Getting a useful piece of steel is probably the hardest part of the project. You want to be able to bend it, but not so easily that it will come unbent halfway down a new row of corn. It helps if you’re a bit of a pack rat and collect odd materials for future use, but hardware stores will probably have something you can use. Using a jig saw is an easy way cut the steel, but a hack saw is fine too.
The flipper starts out being cross-shaped. The side arms are drilled for a pivot bolt and then bent down to wrap down over the pipe. The top arm is then bent up to make a lever to attach a pull rod. This rod will pull the flipper open to drop out the seed.
Some shiny paint has been added and you can see how the flipper fits on the bottom and attaches to the pull rod.
The funnel is to guide a dropped a seed into the pipe, and next to it is a cup made out of a 2 inch PVC coupling sitting on a 2″ male x 1/2″ female PVC bushing. A 4 oz Yoplait yogurt container fits perfectly into the cup, closing off the hole in its bottom and holding the seeds. There is no automatic drop of the seeds. Sorry, I’m just not that clever. You have to hold seeds in your fingers and drop them one at a time into the funnel. You drop a seed, then squeeze the handle to open the flipper and release the seed in the soil.
The handle is made of two parts. The lower piece is attached to the top of the pull rod and to a spring, so that squeezing it upward pulls the flipper open and drops a seed. When it’s released, the spring pulls it back down, closing the flipper. This piece is made of 1 inch PVC so as to be big enough to wrap around the 1/2 inch downpipe. The ends of this were angled in the table saw in the same way as the bottom of the downpipe.
The individual pieces are shown above, and all together below.
Requested close ups of the flipper Sorry they’re blurry.
Here’s a crude sketch of the dimensions of the flipper to help answer a posted question. The 2 inch section is the top part that is bent to attach to the pull rod.