10 essential tips for seed sowing
Almost all plants can be raised by seed and it is the most important tool in nature for propagation. Plants may be raised from seed sown in the ground where it is to bloom or may be raised from seeds grown in boxes/ seedbeds/ seedling trays and later transplanted to other places.
Seeds or tender seedlings in general are very susceptible to heavy rain, scorching heat or frost. Therefore a well protected place, such as under the projection of a roof or a balcony which gets morning sun, is the best site. Seeds purchased from reliable source would generally cause no problems in germination.
Let’s have a look at some guiding rules for seed starting:
1.For leafy vegetables,(e.g Spinach) instead of randomly spreading the seed, it may be sown in line. There will be less wastage of seed; it will enable uniform spacing facilitating intercultural operations.
2. Fine dust like seed of lawn grasses (eg. Doob grass) may be mixed with fine sand for more even sowing in a big area. You may want to read more about growing doob grass.
3. Do not sow the seed very deep. The general thumb rule is that the seed should be sown twice as deep as seeds length.
4. Sow the seed thinly, as crowded thick sowing is wasteful, it later requires extra efforts in removing unwanted seedlings & it may also encourage the ‘damping off’ disease.
5. Use the watering can with a very fine nose of watering. Instead of copious watering, it should be just enough to keep the soil moist up to the seed level.
6. When you plant seeds outdoors, as of beans, peas & sweet corn, are tempting to the birds & rats. They must be covered with straw, about 2.5 cm thick. Remove straw after sprouting.
7. When you plant seeds indoors, it is always recommended to use seedling trays. Seeds of most fruiting vegetable & seasonal flowering plants are best sown in indoor seed strays. Read more about growing seeds in seed trays.
8. For transplanting seedlings to the place where they will finally grow, they should have about two or three pairs of true leaves. They may be protected from direct sunshine & rain by using green shade net arranged in angular manner like a roof.
9. The function of seedbed or seedling tray is to promote good germination and not to provide for the full growth of the plants. Therefore soil need not be nutrient rich. Fertilizers & fresh manure should not be used.
10. Seeds sown on its growing point upward germinate quicker as compared to the seed sown with its growing edge downwards.
Apart from these, seeds of many tree species have hard outer coatings; such seeds are soaked in lukewarm water overnight before sowing.