Friday, May 15, 2015

Potato and corn planters

Kubota and I dropped in on a yard sale today.  I bought two potato forks (for digging potatoes) for $2 each and something I have been looking for, a potato planter

Potato planter on the left, corn planter on the right.  They were asking $5 each.  I bought them both.
The operator typically has the seed potatoes in a sling bag.  He holds the planter in his right hand.  He simultaneously pushes the pointy snout (the bottom) into the loose dirt and maybe helps it by stepping on the foot peg to help it in.

Foot peg in lower left corner of this picture.  I apologize, I did not notice how close the color of the rusty steel was to the dirt...no contrast.
The operator drops a cut piece of potato (three eyes, minimum, please) or a golf ball sized "single drop" into the top of the basket.

Rocking the planter forward (what would be to the right in this picture) presses the foot against the ground and causes the hinged snout to open up a slit and drop the seed piece into it.  A deft planter will drag his foot across the open slit to close it as he moves down the row.  This is way easier on the back...and faster...than planting them by hand. My back-of-envelop calculations suggest that a peppy person could plant between three and five acres a day with this device. The only requirement is that the "seedbed" be soft and deep enough to stick the snout into and that the seed pieces be small enough to pass down the basket.

I am really tempted to reverse engineer this device, replacing the basket with PVC pipe and a few other minor tweaks like an adjustable handle height.  I would need to make at least twenty of them to make it worthwhile.  Simply for my amusement, of course.

2 comments:

  1. Just because it's old, doesn't mean it doesn't work... They had to do everything manually, so the prior generations were pretty good practical engineers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just because it's old, doesn't mean it doesn't work... They had to do everything manually, so the prior generations were pretty good practical engineers!

    ReplyDelete