This is the first post of a new category that will feature tool and equipment reviews relevant to farmers and gardeners. This post: the Jang JP1 Seeder. I don't have a Jang yet, but it made my short-list when I started researching seeders that will work in my very stony soil. What follows is some of the information I've gathered. This post already assumes the reader has a bit of knowledge about this seeder; basic info can be foun d here.Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment box below.
First up: the most valuable insight I gained about the JP1 came from Timothy Carter over atThe Center for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm. He appears to have done some substantial trials with the seeder and was kind enough to allow me to reproduce some of his findings here:
"We've used a Clean Seeder at the UBC Farm for the past few seasons, and overall, I'd highly recommend it for line seeding. Compared to an Earthway, the Clean Seeder is much easier to keep in a straight and level line, it closes the furrow better (and in a soft, tilled soil doesn't leave a narrow ditch like the Earthway does), it distributes seeds more evenly and accurately, doesn't get clogged or grind small seeds, and the seeding rate actually CAN be adjusted. If you're attentive to seed size differences and desired plant densities, you can save a lot on overly dense plantings or time spent thinning. And although it doesn't exactly singulate seed, some crops that you might normally transplant can be sown directly with the Clean Seeder: basil, cilantro, pelleted head lettuce, pac choi, bulb fennel, swiss chard, and rapini have all worked fairly well for us (with some thinning required for the more widely spaced crops). The Clean Seeder is heavier than an earthway, which could be good or bad, depending on your application, but it's still fairly light. It's not particularly durable, but it seems good enough if you don't abuse it. And compared to the price of other precision seeders, it's a great deal.
A few things to note:
- while the seed roller mechanism is ideal for small round seeds (especially brassicas), it doesn't work as well for larger seeds like beans, peas, or corn. By raising the brush and reducing the gearing, you can generally get the N-6 roller to work ok for corn, but some peas and beans will bridge and crack in the hopper.
- The clean seeder doesn't come standard with a row marker (and the add on one is expensive), but you can rig up your own row marker without too much work (we used one from an old earthway).
- The roller clutch in the drive mechanism will wear out at some point (ours did), especially if you get bits of grit in there. They are available for $25 or so from places like McMaster Carr, but it's an unusual part that most bearing dealers don't stock.
- The recommended seed rollers are sometimes way too conservative. For instance, using the recommended YX-6 for arugula or mustards would give you something like 1 or 2 seeds every 4 inches at the highest gearing and 1 or 2 seeds every 10 inches at the lowest gearing. Use an X-24 instead if you want a dense seeding for bunches or salad mix.
- The Clean Seeder was designed by Agritecno Yazaki in Japan, is made by Jang Automation in Korea, and I think they are imported into North America byMechanical Transplanter in Michigan and then sold in Ontario by Willsie Equipment and in the US by Johnny's and others. Definitely check out the Agritecno Yazaki website if you haven't done so already: they make some pretty interesting small scale farm equipment.
- Seed rollers we use are as follows:
- X-24 for dense plantings of small brassica seeds and large seeded leaf lettuces, dill, and carrots
- Y-24 for dense plantings of small seeded leaf lettuces, chicories, and purslane
- MJ-24 or MJ-12 for spinach, smaller seeded beets and chard, bulb fennel, parsnips, and pelleted seeds (lettuce, carrots, etc)
- R-24 for large seeded beets
- F-24 for radishes and cilantro
- YYJ-12 or YYJ-6 for basil, rapini, and pac choi
- N-6 for sweet corn
- G-12 double seeded for baby chard for salad mixFor convenience, we aim to leave the seeder at the highest gearing for most crops and only gear it down for more widely spaced crops or crops that vary widely in seed size and require some attention to plant density (like beets). We're still experimenting with the best seed roller and gear combination for some of the more tricky crops like parsnips, widely spaced swiss chard, and head lettuce. And of course, depending on your soil conditions and your row spacing, you may prefer different plant densities to what we use. We plant most crops two rows at 14" on 42" centered beds in coarse textured soil."Thank you, Tim, for sharing your results.
I don't have much else to include right now. You can click here to see some YouTube videos about the Jang. The Jang can be purchased at Woodward Crossings, Johnny's, and in Canada, Willlsie Equipment.
January 2012 update: a note about Willsie though: I ordered from them. My Jang arrived with a dented front wheel. After receiving assurances from them that I could go ahead and use the seeder and they would follow up with a wheel replacement, I never heard back. That was almost a year ago now.
November 2013 update: in early 2013 I called Willsie again to complain about the wheel situation, and they sent me a new one. Finally!