How to sow seeds

This is the first operation of rearing. Where seeds are deposited singly, as in rows of beans or large nuts, they are said to be planted; where dropped in numbers together, to be sown. The operation of sowing is either performed in drills patches or broadcast. Drills are small excavations formed with the draw-hoe, generally in straight lines parallel to each other, and in depth and distance apart varying according to the size of the seeds. In these drills the seeds are strewed from the hand of the operator, who, taking a small quantity in the palm of his hand and fingers. regulates its emission by the thumb. Some seeds are very thinly sown, as the pea and spinach; others thick, as the cress and small salading.

Patches are small circular excavations made with the trowel; in these seeds are either sown or planted, thicker or thinner, and covered more or less, according to their natures. This is the mode adopted in sowing in pots and generally in flower borders.

In broadcast sowing the operator scatters the seed over a considerable breadth of surface, previously prepared by digging, or otherwise being minutely pulverized. The seed is taken up in portions in the hand and dispersed by a horizontal movement of the arm to the extent of a semicircle, opening the hand at the same time and scattering the seeds in the air so that they may full as equally as possible over the breadth taken in by the sower at once, and which is generally six feet--that being the diameter of the circle in which his hand moves through half the circumference. In sowing broadcast on beds and narrow strips or borders, the seeds are dispersed between the thumb and fingers by horizontal movements of the hand in segments of smaller circles.

Dry weather is essentially requisite for sowing and more especially for the operation of covering in the seed, which in broadcast sowing is done by treading or gently rolling the surface, and then raking it; and in drill-sowing by treading in the larger seeds, as peas, and covering with the rake smaller seeds, sown in drills, are covered with the same implement without treading.

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