Spring is the ideal season for sowing or transplanting seedlings in a field prepared for this purpose and made up of well-tilled, loose and humus-rich soil. If seedlings are not grown in a heated greenhouse, various conditions must be met for success. Indeed, apart from preparing the soil, the species and varieties to sow must be selected by taking climatic conditions, among other factors, into account.

The plot of land that will be used to accommodate seedlings should be prepared between March and June. During this period, while the humidity level fluctuates between 20 and 40%, proceed to ploughing the ground to rid of compacted areas resulting from previous crops. Also consider amending it by bringing in humus or fertilizer supplies. Incidentally, note that the fertilizer must be chosen according to the plant that will be cultivated. After sufficiently ploughing, tilling and enriching the soil in fertilizer, leave the herbaceous vegetation time to decompose before sowing the seeds. It is also imperative to adjust the timing of sowing to the region’s climate. In the Pyrenees, for example, sowing can be carried out two weeks before other regions such as the Limousin, the Alps, the Ile-de-France and Alsace.

Methods of spring sowing

There are many ways to sow the seeds, including sowing in seed trays which consists of putting three to four seeds in each individual cell. It is a suitable method for plants that need large spaces to grow. For sowing in rows, only sow one seed per hole, making sure that the holes, 4/10 to 3/4 of an inch (1 to 2 cm) deep, are well-aligned. Proceed in that manner to create several rows spaced 20 inches (50 cm) apart, in the case of tomato seeds for example, or 40 inches (one meter) apart for herbaceous plants such as gherkins. In regard to plants that do not require much space to grow, sowing is done on the fly. Indeed, their roots do not need to sink too deeply to capture the nutrients necessary for their development. In all three modes of sowing, care must be taken to press down the parts of the ground where the seeds are buried. Thus, using a plank or the back of a rake, pack down the ground to make it more compact. Generally, to grow shrubs in containers or trays, sow them in nurseries.

Steps to take for successful spring sowing

Once sowing is complete, it is advisable to water the garden regularly to keep the soil cool and to provide the seeds with the water they need to vegetate. Nonetheless, be careful not to make the soil too wet at the risk of creating puddles or mud residues or favouring the appearance of mould and mosses at the bases of the plants. Finally, in the case of sowing in nurseries, care must be taken not to water the plant’s leaves.

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Published in Seedlings by Alexander on 31 Aug 2011