Sowing Fine Seed

Fine seed like that of carrots and lettuce, as well as small seed like that of broccoli, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, radishes and parsnips, is easier to sow and manage if sown in rows. Sowing fine seed can be tricky as it is small and can be difficult to spread evenly in your beds. Follow these steps to make your seed sowing that much easier.

Tip To Remember:

Find the right spot, based on whether the plants need full sun or semi-shade (like lettuce in summer). Remember to always check the back of the seed packet for depth of sowing and spacing.

Preparing your beds:

Loosen the soil down to 30cm. Break up soil clumps so that growing tips can easily push up through the soil. Remove large sticks and stones and add plenty of compost.

Rake the soil until it is level and the texture is fine, which ensures better germination. Water and leave overnight for sowing the next day when the soil is still damp, but not wet.

Use a stick, rake or broom handle to draw a shallow line in the soil and lay a planting stick (made from any straight piece of wood) alongside the line, like a ruler. Mark the measuring stick at 5cm intervals, which makes it easy to space the seed correctly. Close the soil over the seed and firm down gently.

Sowing the seed:

For extremely fine seed, make a funnel from a piece of paper and use this to spread the seeds evenly along the row. It is easier to control and regulate the flow of seeds.

When planting more than one row, make sure the space between rows (as indicated on the seed packet) is correct.

The golden rule! Do not let the soil dry out while the seeds are geminating. When the little growing tips emerge from the seeds, they dry out very quickly unless the soil is moist. Covering the bed with shade cloth slightly raised above the ground keeps the soil moist in hot weather.

Watering tip:

Start watering away from the seedlings, swish it over gently and finish watering away from the seedlings. The heavy drops at the beginning or end of watering can displace the seeds. Use a fine nozzle for the hose or watering can.

The Gardener