Gardening Basics – How to Sow Seeds

Hi, I’m Gardener Scott. Today I’ll be showing you how to sow seeds in a number of different ways. To sow seeds into flats first fill the flat with a good potting soil or seed starting mix. Just spread the soil into each of the pods and then lightly tamp down. Read the seed packet for the depth of the sowing. I like to use a pencil. The eraser is about a quarter inch and about halfway down the metal part is half an inch. To make a quarter inch hole, just stick the eraser Into the soil to make a half-inch hole. Stick to about half the depth of the metal. If you need a bigger hole just figure out how far up the pencil the hole needs to be and stick it in. Make all the holes for the seeds that you’re going to sow and then drop a seed into each of the holes that you’ve prepared. After the seed is in the hole just lightly brush soil over and the flat will be sown. When you’re preparing your bed for sowing you want the soil to be as level as possible. That’ll help when you irrigate, for the water to flow evenly over the plants. I suggest a trowel or your fingers and just smooth out the bed. Fill any holes, and just try to prepare the bed by scraping and moving soil to make it as level as possible. Read your seed packet. It’ll give you an idea of how far apart to space the seeds. If you’re using a row method of sowing you can use your trowel and make a nice straight row. Try to make the depth as close to the depth of the recommended sowing of the seed. Read the spacing for the rows and the next row, space it as far apart as the recommended. These pea seeds should be sown about two inches deep. We’ll place them in the rows about two inches apart and then we want the planting depth to be about two inches deep. There are a couple different methods for determining that. If you use the second knuckle of your finger, that’s about two inches. So you can just push the seed down ’till your second knuckle is level with the top of the soil. And you’ve sown these seeds. After the seeds are in, you loosely cover them with the soil nearby. An alternative way to sow bigger seeds that are sown deeper is to make a dibble stick. It’s a stick with markings. This first marking is half an inch. The second marking is one inch and the third marking is two inches. By placing the dibble stick in the ground you can specifically determine the depth of the hole. For these pea seeds we’ll make two inches deep about two inches apart. Once we have our holes done, we can then drop the peas into the hole. We know the depth, we know the spacing, and this is a nice quick way to sow seeds. And we lightly cover and this section is complete. You can prepare a large section of your bed easily and then sow the entire space very quickly by just dropping seeds into the already prepared holes. This is a very quick and efficient way to sow a garden bed in just a few minutes. Once you’ve finished sowing the area make a plant tag to identify the plants that will soon be growing. Stick it in the side of your bed, so you and everyone else will know what will be growing here. These lettuce seeds are only sown 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. There’s a few different ways to sow small seeds at shallow depths. One way that I recommend is to first loosen the soil at the surface and the bed that you’re preparing. Then level, take some of your seeds, and just lightly spread them in the area. Then take surrounding soil and just kind of move it up on top and cover those seeds with a shallow covering of soil. Another method is to actually make small rows, very shallow, and just sprinkle them into the rows, moving your fingers to try to space the seeds apart as you go. These will be thinned later. Once these seeds have been sown, lightly cover. If you’re worried about the control and how much you actually are sowing you can do rows and then take a seed spreader, situated in such a way, so the opening is just slightly larger than the seed, and then by gently tapping you’re putting seeds just in that location. Hold the seat spreader almost parallel to the ground with the tip pointed just slightly down. As you tip, seeds will come out and you just move over the soil, dropping the small seed. They’re recommended to sow half an inch deep in rows that are 12 inches apart. After I level my ground I can space out two rows about twelve inches apart. with these rows being about half an inch deep. Then I’ll take my seeds, I’ll sprinkle them spaced apart as much as I can in these two rows. And as recommended by the seed packet this area would be normally ready to go, but look at all this empty space in between. These carrots will eventually be thinned to three inches apart as recommended on the back of the seed packet. So what I can actually do at this point is add two more rows in between with a three inch spacing. I’ll put my seeds in these new rows. After the rows are complete lightly cover with soil and now this entire space will be filled with carrots that will be thinned to three inches apart in all directions. And of course when I’m done sowing I’ll take my plant tag and place it in the bed. After all the seeds are sown and the soil filled back in, give the bed a soaking. You’ll want to keep this bed evenly moist during the entire germination period. Modifying the concept of rows as recommended on seed packets and instead sowing the seeds as far apart as they would normally be thinned can give you many more plants in a small space. These radishes instead of being sown in rows are now sown just a few inches apart as if they were thinned already. In this area of Swiss chard, instead of having sown them in rows and then thinning the rows the seeds were sown in such a way that essentially they’ve been thinned at sowing. And that’s how you sow seeds. If you have any questions, just let me know. I’m Gardener Scott. Happy gardening.

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