DIY Seeder, Make Your Own Vacuum Seeder For Easy Seed Planting

There are many different vacuum seeders on the market. Some aimed at home gardeners and even more aimed at professional growers. Some of the major types include:

  • Bulb type seeders which create a vacuum by squeezing a bulb and then releasing pressure when the vacuum tip is in the seeds
  • Single tip vacuum seeder powered by a vacuum pump
  • Multiple tip wands powered by a vacuum pump
  • Plate seeders that have many holes that match the cells in planting flats. These too are powered by a vacuum pump.

The type we are going to cover in this project is a single tip vacuum seeder.

Material list.

  1.  A Vacuum, in this case a Tetra 30-60 air pump for an aquarium, $19.99
  2. An air brush, $9.99
  3. Glue tips $2.00
  4. A small section of vinyl tubing with an inside diameter of 1/4 inch $0.25
  5. An air line tee $2.00
  6. A section of air line. In this case, more flexible is better.$2.00

Total cost for materials should be around. $36.00

Construction Details

  1. Modify the air brush
    1. Remove the paint needle. This is the gold portion at an angle with its tip in the tip of the air brush. It is a threaded fitting and will come out easily.
    2. The glue tips need to be pushed into the end of our vinyl tubing. The easiest method for us was to push it into the tip point first. We then could use the back of the air brush to press the tip into place.
    3. Once the tip is in place, you will need to press the tubing onto the air brush. This also requires a firm hand. In both cases, it is easiest if you leave the tubing longer than you need which gives you something to hold onto.
    4. Trim the excess of the tubing if you haven’t cut it to a one inch length earlier.
  2. Modify the pump
    1. The aquarium pump is meant to blow air, not suck, so we need to make a few modifications. First, remove the four screws from the bottom of the pump.
    2. Next we need to pull out the valves. These simply slide straight up. To get the white plastic part up where you can get a hold of it, you can pry in the very center with a sharp pointed tool. We used a normal kitchen knife. Just insert the tip of your tool at a steep angle between the bracket and valve. You will find a recess a small distance from the top that the tool can slip into to lever it up. You can grab the top edge of the valve with pliers once it moves a little to finish removing the valve from the housing.
    3. Repeat with second valve.
    4. You will need to twist the actual valve itself so that the large hole is next to the magnet. This is the opposite of what is shown in the photo.
    5. Reinstall both valves in housing by simply sliding them back into place.
    6. Reassemble the housing making note that there is a front and a back. It should easily slide together if it is being assembled in the right direction. Reinsert four screws removed earlier.
  3. Connect the air brush
    1. Cut two small sections of hose and connect to the two outputs on the air pump.
    2. Connect ends of tubing to air tee
    3. Connect remaining line to end of tee and air brush

Using the seeder

As soon as you plug in the pump it will start to run since it lacks a switch. You might want to consider attaching to a power strip for easy on and off operation. To use the vacuum seeder, you depress the button on the top of the air brush and dip its tip into your seeds. With the seed stuck to the tip, move the seeder over top of your desired planting location and release the button. Since the valve completely blocks any air intake, it is a good idea to turn off the seeder whenever you are not using it. Have fun.

I would love to hear from anyone who makes a version of the this vacuum seeder or would like to share ideas for other designs. If enough people are interested, I will make a multiple point seeder.