Garden Seedbed Preparation for Home Gardening

Raised Garden Seedbed.
Raised Garden Seedbed.

Garden Seedbed Preparation:

Today, the topic of discussion is how to make a garden seedbed at home. How to prepare the garden seedbed for home gardening: Agriculture was born long centuries ago and since then it has been a driving force of the human civilization. Tracing the past times’ agriculture brought to the abandon of nomadism for the construction of villages. The action which represents the borderline between “hunters” and “farmers” is the seeding of some plants that are useful to sustain and complete human’s diet. This transition found its origin and this is how lots of species grew and evolved spontaneously. Thanks to the seeding, it was possible to grow more and more species.

Kitchen gardening has undergone a revolution over the past decade as people are now more aware of the pros of growing own fresh vegetables and are now keen to exploit the resurgence of interest in healthy home-grown vegetables, this has pushed the idea of ‘convenience gardening’.

When talking of home gardening preparation of seedbed is the important factor that allows raising seeds and decides the success of crop and. The seeding needs a preliminary preparation of the soil, in order to create a suitable environment for the seed to grow. Now we’ll see how it’s possible to create a seedbed by analyzing the right conditions which allow the development of the seed.

Seedbed Preparation.
Seedbed Preparation.

The seeding requires a preliminary preparation of the soil, in order to generate a suitable environment for the seed to grow up. Now we’ll see how it’s possible to raise seedbed by analyzing the right conditions which allow the development of the seed.

We can define seedbed as; it is a small area of the garden set aside for raising tender young plants for transplanting to other areas of your home garden. In order to set up a seedbed first, we need to understand the necessities of a germinating seed because eventually, we are raising a seedling from seed in our seedbed so for raising a superior seedbed we need to understand the factors which are important for the germination of seed.

Read: How To Test Garden Soil pH Value.

Conditions for the germination on a garden seedbed

The steps to properly preparing a seedbed will make more sense when you are aware of the overall needs for seed germination. A key to plant growth rests in the concept that there must be a good seed to soil contact. Good seed to soil contact helps the seed to make use of the moisture in the soil and later the emerging plant can utilize the available nutrients in the soil.

For its sprouting, the seed needs heat, water, and oxygen in a soil which allows the coleoptile (grass) and cotyledon (legumes) to grow with the help of sunlight. The actual germination phase doesn’t need sunlight because the energy and the matter useful to cover the starting needs are provided from the nutritive supplies present within the seed. There are two types of species: positive photosensitivity species which call for the sunlight to activate the process of germination; negative photosensitivity species; they can initiate the germination without sunlight. However seedbed-preparation sunlight doesn’t affect the germination in most of our crops, often the burial is unnecessary. A good covering can protect the seed and keep the right conditions of temperature and humidity.

The temperature can change from one species to another. In moderate weather conditions, ideal temperatures are between 18 and 24°C. The species which grow in Spring (normally these are tropical or subtropical as soy and bean) need a specific temperature.

The temperature of the soil it’s important for spring crops because after a cold season the species are more demanding. In order to “warm up” the land it’s necessary to work on it, the work reduces the presence of leftover which can cover the surface by slowing down the evaporation and the heat for irradiation. In addition to this, soil work facilitates the evaporation of water: a dry land has less thermal inertia and it warms up quicker than a wetland. A warm land allows anticipating spring seeding.

For the beginning and the success of the germination process, the water or moisture content in the soil has to be sufficient and must reach the embryo of the seed; besides, it has to be available constantly during the entire process until the development of the roots, because they can take up water also with active mechanism.

The third factor for the germination is oxygen which has to be available inside the land. With the break of the protective tegument caused by the absorption of water, the oxygen soaks into the seed and allows the metabolism of germination, various biochemical cycles and the protein-based synthesis of other substances.

The structure of the soil should allow the protrusion of the rootlet and the growth of the crop, which emerges from the soil and creates its first leaves (when the cotyledon stays buried under the soil). It’s important that the small plant reaches the atmosphere before finishing the stock of reserved nutrients. When the cotyledon emerges from the soil, they are now able to perform the photosynthesis with the development of leaves and roots which allows the plant to improve its growth.

So the summary is in order to raise a healthy crop the transition of mere seed to developing seedling must be smooth for this you require a fine seedbed which can facilitate the easy germination and growth of seedling by fulfilling all the crucial factors discussed above.

Advantages of raising a garden seedbed for home gardening

Versatility: The seedlings take up less room while they are small so the rest of the garden can be utilized for other purposes while they are developing or can be covered with cardboard sheeting or mulch to keep down weeds and ensure the preservation of moisture for further operations.

The seedbed can start off new plants while other parts of the garden have vegetables waiting to mature to harvest.  Once harvested, the seedlings can be transplanted, giving them a head-start for succession planting without waiting for more time you will have your stock ready.

Seedbeds demand less effort than starting everything in pots. You must be thinking of portability that pot gardening offers you can start early warm-season crops like tomatoes and peppers in pots so they can easily be moved indoors if a late frost occurs but for other cool-season vegetables a seedbed is perfect and most recommended.

Small-seeded vegetable crops such as brinjal, chili, tomato, capsicum, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, onion, etc. are first raised in nursery beds are often recommended to be started in a seedbed and, if you are careful when transplanting them, it can even benefit them by causing a better root-system to form.

A seedbed that is weed free allows the desired crop to grow without fierce competition for nutrients, space, and sunlight.

You can save your time by raising seeds in your home nursery as we don’t have to wait for certain temperature but instead we could do this a month earlier by raising seedling in the seedbed for the appropriate temperature conditions.

Better germination will ensure high yields.

Read: How to Plant Carrots in Containers.

Ideal garden seedbed

Seedbed preparation has a very significant role. You should pay the right attention because this is what can make the difference between good and bad production.

First of all, the soil must have a good rate of humidity or moisture content in order to keep the seed in contact with the water, a prerequisite this will activate the process of germination. Ideal conditions such as uniformly firm soil to a depth of 5 inches (12.7 centimeters), adequate soil moisture, and weed free. Each of these characteristics helps the seed to have the best chance to germinate and thrive. A seedbed that is weed free facilitates the desired crop to grow without competition for nutrients, space, and sunlight.

The seedbed has to be firm because that indicates that moisture down in the soil can be brought up for seed germination. Fluffy soil at the surface typically means too much air is trapped in the soil and that will dry out the conditions and seeds will not germinate.

If soil is too stressed from work, it can become dry (in Spring and in Autumn it is a common problem in the Mediterranean Region). A soil which has never been treated before can be cold (in Spring this aspect affects the continental areas and north of Europe). In both cases, it’s necessary to slow or delay the seeding. In order to obtain a good result, it’s important to carry out a non-excessive level of work during the soil preparation.

The excessive water has to be drained and this operation is possible when the soil is free from surfaces which can block (or slow down) the infiltration of water. When there is a lack of water here again you should look for the presence of a surface can be an obstacle for the capillarity.

Since the germination and the entire physiological development need a balanced relationship between air and water present in the soil, it’s very vital that the water circulates properly in the soil. Efficient preparation of the soil allows a good structure of the land, which produces a balanced interaction between micro and macropores of soil, this is the only state in which air and water can circulate.

The creation of an exterior crust obstructs the emergence of little plants. Soil full of loam and clay, the exterior crust is caused by the production of subtle soil during the seedbed preparation especially when weather conditions are dry. In this way, there is the creation of a resistant layer of soil which obstructs the emergence of the crop. For fine emergence of small seedlings, it is most to crush all the clumps.

In order to avoid the creation of the exterior crust and guarantee a balanced interaction between micro and macropores (the ideal condition is around 50%), it’s necessary to reduce the intensity of work during the seedbed preparation. To achieve this purpose, do not carry out operations which can create turmoil in the soil and clumps.

Read: How to Mulch Your Garden.

Steps of garden seedbed preparation for home garden

The Ideal Location for Seedlings

Seedbed or place where you have decided to raise your seedlings should be barren with no signs of the presence of any parasites or spores or any history of the soil-borne disease as their presence will hamper the growth of seeds. If you are not able to localize any place in your piece of land you have the option of raised seedbed in containers made up of plastic, aluminum or wooden boxes. When working directly on the field you should choose a light position not exposed to harsh winds but not overshadowed either.

Next step is preparing the soil

Preparing a ‘Fine Tilth’

A ‘fine tilth’ in a gardening dictionary is the perfect soil structure for seeds.  The soil has to be crumbly but not dusty.  This is where most of the effort comes in and how you prepare the perfect tilth will mainly depend on the soil type you have:

Sandy soils will need plenty of organic matter mixed in such as compost, green manure so that they can retain moisture well.

Heavy clay or silt soils will necessitate breaking up and either adding fine organic matter or mixing with lighter sandy soil can assist to achieve this.  You should avoid preparing a tilth if the soil is sticky such soil needs to dry out first.  Equally, very dusty soil is bad as it will just form a hard crust after rain which is not helpful to young little plants.

Why waste efforts? You certainly don’t need to dig the ground because the young seedlings will only have shallow root systems and digging just brings weed seeds or spores to the surface.  Likewise, the soil will not need to be much enriched unless you plan to also grow plants on to maturity in the bed.

After preparing the soil you can now sow the seeds of your desired crop and water the sown seeds by sprinkling or use handy water sprayer carefully by not allowing water stagnation.

Keep observing the seedbed for proper germination or any disease symptom as the seedlings start appearing you can transplant them into your vegetable garden.

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