The condition of the seed bed at planting is critical to the success of
the vegetable garden.
Plant seeds into a dry soil, and then water them in. The nobbly bits of
hard soil will help prevent capping
When seeds are planted into a dry seed bed, the soil particles and
crumbs are at their minimum size. When the seed row is watered, the soil
crumbs will expand, making the soil firmer around the seed, so that the
soil is in close contact with the seed, allowing the seed to take in
water. Soil/seed contact is important.
If soil is sticking to hands and tools when preparing the seed row, the
soil is too wet for sowing. When planting into soil which is too wet,
the soil particles will shrink as they dry out, and the soil will become
loose and open so that the soil/seed contact is reduced.
This is particularly important with small seeds which are planted
shallowly, for example, cabbage seeds at 2cm deep.
A previous post has discussed the initial preparation of the seed bed
The soil should not be worked into a dust, because when it is watered, it will slump and become too dense, so that oxygen is not available to the seed.
To plant small vegetable seeds:
* soil needs to be friable not sticky
* better to plant in dry, well-structured soil then water in
* use a rose on the hose or watering can to avoid swilling the soil.
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