The following is an unpaid, unsolicited product endorsement.
Patti has been threatening to buy a seeder for some time now. She's been shopping online, comparing prices, looking for the best deal. Hey, we're all about being thrifty and frugal. A while ago she settled on Earthway's Model # 1001-B Precision Garden Seeder, and today she discovered she could buy one locally. At $109.00, it was a little higher than the prices she'd found on line so far, but the convenience of being able to get it today, plus no shipping costs, and it made sense to grab it.
I have to tell you, when we first examined the contraption, we didn't have very high hopes that it would work as advertised. I mean, the little chain dragging behind the thing was supposed to cover the seed? Really? Well, yes. Really. It worked like a charm, and saved us a tremendous amount of time as soon as we put it together (which was a snap and didn't take long at all)
The blade-looking thing in the photo above is a small plow. Behind the plow is a groove through which the seeds are dropped from the hopper to the ground.
Inside the hopper, from which the seeds are deposited downward, there are interchangeable wheels designed to fit a wide variety of seeds. The seeds shown are snap beans. The wheel, or plate, works in a fashion similar to old-fashioned water wheels that would power grist mills: as the wheel makes a revolution, the little "cups" on the wheel pick up the beans one at a time for delivery down the shoot that runs behind the plow shaft toward the ground. That delivery system seemed very efficient to us, and Patti noted that she used fewer beans than she expected to use, although each row was fully planted. It must've been due to the controlled release of the beans, resulting in no wasted beans accidentally cast aside hither and yon.
Four times the results / one fourth the effort
We timed how long it took us to plant four rows of snap beans, and it took right at six minutes to plant four rows. In fact, it only took three minutes to plant the first three rows, but we hadn't loaded the hopper with enough beans for the last row, so the additional three minutes it took for the last row included walking to and from where the bag of seeds were located, and loading the hopper.
We didn't intend on conducting a comparison by planting a row without the seeder, but we ended up doing so because there wasn't a plate/wheel with cups big enough for the butter beans! We were sorely disappointed by that fact, but were later relieved to learn that additional wheels can be purchased which will fit virtually any size seed. Anyway, since we didn't have the right wheel for the butter beans, and the butter beans needed to be planted, we took the opportunity to see how long it took for one person to open a furrow, plant the seeds, and cover the seeds in one row. Answer: six minutes. Yep, it took the same time to do one row by hand that it took to do four rows using the seeder. Amazing.
In the final analysis, though we certainly need a few more wheels to fit a few more seed sizes (it came with several, just not the right one for our butter beans), we couldn't be happier with how the seeder performed. It's not every day you can find a device to cut your effort by such a huge percentage. Below is our video product review:
And here is the link to the video in case there's an issue with the embed: http://youtu.be/TZZ0XXEM4To
According to a new Associated Press Economy Survey, the frugal living many consumers have been forced to embrace during the recession is one they have no intention of letting go. Based on a survey of leading economists and interviews with “ordinary Americans,” even as the economy improves they have learned their lesson: spend less, save more. What’s unclear is how many of these Americans are “shopaholics” and how they may find a way to embrace a frugal way of life.
If you you cannot control your urge to spend then you are a shopaholic. Beyond joining a support group for people who share this compulsion, you can explore the world of frugal spending through the following five spending tips for shopaholics:
1) Cut up your credit cards. Maxed out or not, either way you’ll benefit from this liberating gesture. Consider it the ribbon cutting ceremony as you enter the foreign territory of thrifty living.
2) Shop with cash; leave your debit card behind. Even if you leave the house with a budget in mind, you know all too well that a “good deal” is around every corner. However, if you leave your debit card at home, it will be impossible for you to go over budget with a set amount of cash in your pocket. (Note: If you don’t have it in you to cut up your credit cards, yes, they need to stay behind too.)
3) Go shopping with people who care. Whether it’s family or friends, shop with people who know you well. Those who genuinely care will keep you in check and talk you down from irrational purchases they know you will only regret later.
4) Make and stick to shopping lists. Never, and I do mean never, should a shopaholic leave the house without a list. And if you forget your list, go back home for it, even if you don’t realize it until you’re in the store, shopping cart in hand. Any guilt you feel wasting time and gas going back for your list will pale in comparison to the guilt of “winging it” and inevitably making compulsive purchases in the process.
5) Keep track of your spending. And I don’t mean just entering the amount of each transaction in your check register. In fact, ideally you should be using cash for every purchase so you’ll need a special record book for that, with assigned categories.
At the end of every day, record all of your transactions, including where and what you bought, assigning categories as you go. At the end of the week, go through all of your purchases and add up what you spent in each category – on food, coffee, gas, clothes, beauty products, entertainment, etc. Then based on each category total, try to come in under that amount for the following week. Consider it a challenge of sorts that should eventually reveal just how little you really do need.