The Joy of growing plants from Seeds – Sowing seeds
Now that we have learnt the basics lets get to the real activities one by one.
Preparing the soil to sow the seeds: If you are sowing your seed in ground ensure the soil is well loosened to a depth of few inches. We all know this method its called ploughing. Why is this done? It is to ensure the early roots from a budding sprout is getting its way easier through the soil. Ensure to clear any kind of large rocky structure. This method is already done in a pot by preparing our well loosened potting mix. The sandwich layering method further enables the roots to spread and grow better.
Coming back once you have loosened your soil water the soil evenly. Ensure the soil is moist not soaked. Remember this initial watering is set the base for the seeds first growing condition.
Next is the distance between each seed. Remember just like us the plants and their roots need space to grow and branch out. As we had learnt earlier the primary source of food for plants comes from the leaves and the raw materials from the roots. A healthy plant with a well branched both above and beneath the soil will give you a decent yield. So plan the space between each plant from seedling stage.
In urban pot gardening with the lack of space we would like to grow more in less space hence an even more careful planning is required while sowing seeds. Visualize your plants when they grow up a 9×9 growbag would be ideal for a sapling but not be ideal for a larger plant. Hence if you do not plan to transplant a sapling I would recommend a standard 12″X12″ growbag.
Dont over crowd the growbag even if it is a larger one, remember plants do need their space. May be the example table below should help.
|Plant||No of plants/ 12″X12″ growbag|
|Chilli, Okra, brinjal, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd, sword bean etc||Not more than one per pot.|
|radish, carrot, beet||not more than 5 per pot|
|cowpea, broad bean both creeper and shrub, beans, other small creepers||2 per pot|
|Greens, coriander etc||30 seeds/ enough for 2 harvests|
if planting a single seed ensure it is in the middle or if you plan to use a ollas watering system ensure the seeds is at least 3 inches away from the edge of the pot. In case of multiple seeds other than greens give a space of minimum 3 inches and in case of greens give a space of minimum 1 inch away from the end of the pot/ growbag.
Depth the seed should be sown in is always a debatable question. Remember a seed normally should be sown twice the depth of the longest part of the seed however the maximum depth should not exceed more than an inch. Example a normal okra seed is almost round in shape and is around 4 to 5 mm in its longest part so it needs to sown at a depth of 10 mm which is less than 1/2 an inch deep, but when it comes to seeds such as bottle gourd, sword bean are longer in length and the 1 inch rule should be applied to these seeds. Remember when the sprouts start they need to push through the soil to peep out and too much of depth may make keep them in the grave for ever.
When it comes to micro seeds such as the greens/ coriander just sprinkle the seeds and cover them mildly with few couple of mm of soil. Gardeners used to mix these seeds with river sand or potting mix and sprinkle them which does the magic of even spread and top coverage in one go.
Once watered cover the pots with a news paper and keep watering mildly once a day even in summer on top of the paper. The news paper acts as a mulch and also improves the humid condition required for the seed to sprout. For ground garden a mulch may be used but it is not really important.
When all things go well you should witness your seeds sprouting from day 3. However there is also a season for every plant, a grow period and sowing time for each seeds. Now that’s a different topic all together we will discuss that in the coming days.
Until than Happy gardening.