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Create a seeder for each table in your database, and easily seed from CSV or custom methods


~> 6.1.3, >=
 Project Readme


Build Status Gem Version License: MIT

Pre-release version! Anything is subject to change in the near future!

Seeds for Rails applications can get complicated fast, and Rails doesn't provide much for assisting with this process. This plugin seeks to rectify that by providing easy ways to seed specific tables.

Features include:

  • Seed tables from CSV files, an array of hashes, or custom methods.
  • Call specific seeders with rails planter:seed SEEDERS=users,addresses.
  • Control the number of records being created.
  • Seed associations.

You can view the documentation here.


Add the following line to your application's Gemfile. Because this plugin is currently a pre-release version, it's recommended to lock it to a specific version, as breaking changes may occur, even at the patch level.

gem 'planter', '0.0.9'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install planter


Let's assume you'd like to seed your users table.

To get started, run rails generate planter:initializer, which will create config/initializers/planter.rb with the following contents.

require 'planter'

Planter.configure do |config|
  # The list of seeders. These files are stored in the
  # config.seeders_directory, which can be changed below. When a new
  # seeder is generated, it will be appended to the bottom of this
  # list. If the order is incorrect, you'll need to adjust it.
  # Just be sure to keep the ending bracket on its own line, or the
  # generator won't know where to put new elements.
  config.seeders = %i[

  # The directory where the seeder files are kept.
  # config.seeders_directory = 'db/seeds'

  # The directory where CSVs are kept.
  # config.csv_files_directory = 'db/seed_files'

By default, a planter:seed task is provided for seeding your application. This allows you to use db:seed for other purposes. If you want Planter to hook into the existing db:seed task, simply add the following to db/seeds.rb.


To create a users seeder, run rails generate planter:seeder users. Usually, seeders seed a specific table, so it's recommended to name your seeders after the table. If you don't, you'll need to manually specify a few things. More on that later. This will create a file named db/seeds/users_seeder.rb (the directory will be created if it doesn't exist) with the following contents.

class UsersSeeder < Planter::Seeder
  # TODO: Choose a seeding_method. For example:
  # seeding_method :csv

  # For now, we overload the seed method so no exception will be raised.
  def seed

This also adds users to the config.seeders array in our initializer. A few things to note.

  • The seeder will always be appended at the end of the array. If this is not the correct order, you'll need to adjust the array manually.
  • When adjusting the array, always keep the closing bracket on its own line, or the generator won't know where to put the new seeders.

If you want to generate a seeder for every table currently in your database, run rails generate planter:seeder ALL.

You then need to choose a seeding method, of which there are currently three.

Seeding from CSV

To seed from CSV, you simply need to add the following to your seeder class.

class UsersSeeder < Planter::Seeder
  seeding_method :csv

Then, create a directory called db/seed_files, and create a csv file called db/seed_files/users.csv. In this file, the header should be the field names, and the rest of the rows should be the corresponding data.


If the CSV file is named differently than the seeder, you can specify the :csv_name option. Note that the value should not include the file extension.

class UsersSeeder < Planter::Seeder
  seeding_method :csv, csv_name: :people

ERB can be used in the CSV files if you name it with .erb at the end of the file name. For example, users.csv.erb. Note that lines starting with <% and ending with %> will not be considered rows, so you can use ERB rows to set values. For example:

<% count = 1 %>,<%= count += 1 %>,<%= count += 1 %>

Running rails planter:seed will now seed your users table.

Seeding from a data array

If you need dynamic seeds, you can add something similar to the following to your seeder class. In this example, we'll use faker.

require 'faker' # You could just require this in `db/seeds.rb`.

class UsersSeeder < Planter::Seeder
  seeding_method :data_array, number_of_records: 10

  def data

The number_of_records option allows you to only create one array element, but create ten records. If you leave this option off, you'll need your array to have ten elements to create ten records. It's also worth noting that setting an instance variable called @data from an initialize method would also work, as the Planter::Seeder parent class automatically provides attr_reader :data.

Running rails planter:seed should now seed your users table.

You can also seed children records for every existing record of a parent model. For example, to seed an address for every user, you'd need to create an AddressesSeeder that uses the parent_model option, as seen below.

require 'faker'

class AddressesSeeder < Planter::Seeder
  seeding_method :data_array, parent_model: 'User'

  def data
      street: Faker::Address.street_address,
      state: Faker::Address.state_abbr,

Note that specifying number_of_records in this instance will create that many records for each record of the parent model. You can also specify the association if it's different from the table name, using the :assocation option.

Custom seeds

To write your own custom seeds, just overload the seed method and do whatever you need to do.

class UsersSeeder < Planter::Seeder
  USERS = {
    '' => { username: 'John Smith' },
    '' => { username: 'Jane Smith' }

  def seed
    USERS.each { |email, attrs| User.where(email).first_or_create!(attrs) }


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.

Reporting Bugs and Requesting Features

If you have an idea or find a bug, please create an issue. Just make sure the topic doesn't already exist. Better yet, you can always submit a Pull Request.


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