Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Saturday 27 July 2013

Seedsava review

Some time ago I was sent a SeedSava to try out . The SeedSava is a plastic device which allows delivery of seeds in a more controlled manner than the usual sprinkling by hand method.

From the website
SeedSava is the brain child of Suffolk engineering entrepreneur John Hoare, founder of the leading drainage supplies company JKH Drainage Units Ltd. Mr Hoare, now in his 80s, has a lifetime of innovation and vegetable growing behind him.

John devised an early version of the SeedSava for his own use, which gave him many years of service – now he has refined it and made it available to everyone.
 They go on to say
SeedSava is a simple but revolutionary new product, designed and manufactured in the UK, based on many years of vegetable growing experience, to help any gardener to sow seeds neatly, economically and efficiently.
This device will, quite literally, change the way you garden.

I  read that last bit and thought "wow that is quite a big claim". I think it would take more than a (however carefully designed and engineered) plastic item to do that, here! A couple of JCBs and a few strong gardeners, maybe...

Anyway, I digress. The SeedSava is a set of hoppers with different sized holes in, which fit into a base and which allow delivery of seeds in a more controlled manner than the usual sprinkling by hand method.

It comes with comprehensive instructions and a lot more information is available on the website.

I did use the SeedSava on the soil in a raised bed, back in April, but the slugs ate the results so I didn't think it was a very good illustration for you.

So I decided to show you how I sowed some carrot seed in tubs using the Seedsava

You have to select the hopper with correct hole size for the seeds you want to plant. There is a very clear colour coded chart to tell you this. To use the SeedSava you have to put the clear plastic base and chosen colour hopper together, which I found a bit fiddly to do - if I had limited mobility in my fingers I think I would maybe struggle a bit to do this. I also struggled to change the hopper for a different colour one.


Having set it up I placed the SeedSava on the surface of the growing medium and loaded it with seed (the orange hopper is for carrot seed)  I held the SeedSava with one hand and, making sure seed was over the closed off hole in the hopper, I slid the hopper in the carrier so the two holes (carrier and base)  then lined up and the seeds fell out of them.

It worked just as the instructions described, but I did think there were still a lot of seeds per "hopper hole" when compared with me just sowing a small pinch from my fingers, slowly distributing along a drill at regular intervals.

I covered the seeds with a thin layer of growing medium and watered them - we shall see what the rows look like when they germinate.

I  had a similar experience when I used the SeedSava to sow Spinach seeds in my raised bed in April.

So, what do I think of the SeedSava so far?

It came in compostable/recyclable packaging
It is sturdily made (of recyclable plastic)
The instructions are clear and easy to understand.
It works as it says.
If you are new to veg growing it reduces the chance of sowing too many seeds in one place - a common mistake made by enthusiastic beginners!
It is easy to clean after use (very important)
It packs away tidily and can be hung up (very important).

I have a certain amount of limited mobility in my fingers and I found it quite hard to set up/change the hoppers in the base unit.
I also found it quite fiddly to use the unit, once setup, as it needs a certain level of manual dexterity to operate.
The seedlings sowed using the SeedSava still need thinning although to be fair SeedSava does not claim to eliminate thinning, just reduce it.

My personal opinion

Would I buy one? No. I think that, for me, the hand sowing method is as good as using the SeedSava and actually easier than using a device.

I also have a bit of a personal issue with using items like the SeedSava in that I like sowing seeds by hand. To me it is an essential part of the process; the making of the seed bed; the drawing of the hoe corner along the soil to make a drill to sow seeds into; the careful sprinkle of seeds so as to get the correct number to grow - not  too many and not too few - I love the whole process of touching and sprinkling. But I acknowledge that this is a very personal view!

I am not a huge fan of straight rows of veg seeds anyway and am quite happy with slightly wayward lines of veg.

I personally don't view thinning seedlings as a chore - I tend to use the time to also weed and generally check over my seedlings. I also don't tend to have lots of seedlings bunched together.

The SeedSava is not for me BUT it does what it claims, works well and I can see it could be useful for anyone who keeps on sowing too many seeds and wastes lots of seeds and time thinning out the results.

Disclaimer - I was sent a SeedSava to trial and review. As always, the words I write are my own and are my honest opinions.

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