Seed planting tools serve two primary purposes: to create the hole into which the seed will be placed for germination and to disseminate seeds for germination. Most tools used in the seed planting process are simple, hand held, and relatively small. Dribbles, dowels, and spades are all basic and common garden tools used in the seed planting process. Spreaders are more complicated in that they involve more moving parts, though are no less simple to use.
Dibbles are metal bars used for creating planting holes in soil. It is designed to streamline the planting process. The tool consists of a lateral handle attached to a vertical bar that ends in a blade. Dibble blades cut through soil to create a hole suited for the planting of seeds. The Washington State University Cooperative Extension recommends the tool for soft and moist soils. Dibbles lack the strength to cut through rocky soils.
Spreaders are seed planting tools that come in two primary varieties, broadcast and drop. The tools can be manually propelled wheeling units or buckets with distribution devices designed to be strapped to the body. On page 280 of her book "Garden Wisdom & Know-How," Judy Pray asserts that spreaders provide for even distribution of seeds of a large gardening area. Broadcast spreaders cast seeds in a perimeter around the unit. Drop spreaders distribute seeds in rows as the tool is wheeled forward. Broadcast spreaders are preferable for indiscriminately distributing seed over large areas, such as when planting grass seed, while drop spreaders are suited for precision planting.
A dowel, or even a pencil or stick, is a simple wooden tool used to create holes for planting. The tool consists of nothing more than a spike that, when driven into soil, creates a hole for seed planting. Dowels are available in a number of sizes to accommodate planting depth requirements of a variety of seeds. When planting in rows, dowels can be fit into holes bored in planks of wood. When this plank of wood is lowered onto a section of soil, it will create multiple seed holes simultaneously.
Spades are recommended by both the University of Vermont and North Carolina State University as essential seed planting tools. The University of Vermont suggests using a spade for planting on a small scale in the home garden by digging seed holes. North Carolina State University names three types of spades commonly used in gardens. These types are sharp-edged spades, four-pronged fork spades, and rounded spades. Each spade type can be used to dig small holes for planting seeds and bulbs and for mixing compost and other organic and inorganic material in with soil to fill planting holes with.
D-handle Garden Fork
D-handle garden forks are multipurpose tools that aid in the planting process. Writing in Fine Gardening Magazine, author and gardener Joe Queirolo claims to never leave the garden shed without this tool. It resembles a pitchfork but is more compact, consisting of four eleven-inch tines and a half-length shaft ending in a "D"-shaped handle. D-handle garden forks can be used to loosen, cultivate, and aerate soil in preparation for seed planting and to create planting holes for seeds and bulbs.
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- Washington State University Cooperative Extension: Forestry Hand Tools and Power Tools
- Fine Gardening Magazine: Essential Tools for Working the Soil: Joe Queirolo
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- University of Vermont Extension: Home Gardening Tools
- Garden Wisdom and Know-How: Judy Pray: 2010
- Washington State University: Root Transplanting