Seedlings in the ground

 Any discussion of the practice of sowing in the full ground must begin with the statement that in a market garden, it is much more advantageous to establish its cultures through transplantation. Indeed, while allowing to obtain a perfect density, the transplantation of cultures allows vegetables to take a considerable lead over weeds, which helps a lot to reduce the weeding workload. That's also easier to ensure optimal germination in a controlled environment, as is the case in the nursery. However, some vegetables do not lend themselves well to transplantation and must be sown in the ground.


 Sowing in the ground does not have only disadvantages; they grow faster, are easier maintenance and less expensive than indoor seedlings.

 I will address the issue of different tools and techniques that can be used to simplify this practice. To begin with, at least two important things need to be considered.


 First, you have to make sure you have a good germination rate to obtain production intensive expected. The first thing to do is to obtain quality seeds. The seeds with a low germination rate will not give never anything good. I, therefore, recommend you buy yours from recognized seed companies.

It is also important to store the seeds throughout the season; these should always be kept in an airtight container and placed in a cool, dry environment.

Also, to ensure maximum performance, we avoid using seeds from previous years and we calculate our needs as precisely as possible before placing our order annual.


 Germination rates are also influenced by climatic conditions. Like a uniform rise depends on the humidity and heat of soil, we seek to control these parameters despite bad weather. It is mainly for this reason that a market garden must benefit from a reliable irrigation system. For optimal germination, the soil should always be kept moist until seedlings emerge. By the time fresh, we also cover the boards with a floating cover, which helps a lot in retaining the heat of the ground.

Precision seed drills

 Vegetable seeders are not new and there are several different models. Find the or the best seeders is a challenge because the seeds of different vegetables all have their specific shape, size, and germination rate. Clean. I have tried most of the seeders currently available on the market and find that they all have interesting features as well as faults. Aside from precision, the features that interest me on a manual seeder are the ease of its calibration (i.e. one can make adjustments for different shapes or seed sizes in a short time), precision, and the price. In the appendix, you will find a list of suppliers from which it is possible to purchase these seeders.


 The Earthway, also marketed under the name Semtout in Europe, is a seed drill that we push and which, by the action of a belt attached to the wheel forward, spins a disc that lifts and sets down seeds stored in a tank on the ground. This seed drill is supplied with an adjustable furrow opener which allows seeds to be deposited at different depths. It comes with 12 discs, designed to sow seeds of different sizes to different spacings, is light and easy to calibrate (less one minute the correct disc is installed and the depth adjusted). 

 For all these reasons, the seed drill Earthway is very easy to use. Its reservoir at seeds empties easily and a row marker is integrated there, which is very practical. For beans, peas, beets, and radishes, the seed drill Earthway gives very good results. On the other hand, it is ineffective at sowing the very small seeds which tend to get stuck in the mechanism.


 The Glazer is a simple and well-thought-out planter (to like most Swiss tools) in which the seeds are deposited on the ground by the rotation of a horizontal axle, driven by two metal wheels located on each side. This axle is provided cavities in which the seeds are lodged. The seed drill is calibrated using one of the three-hole sizes of the axle (small-medium-large) and by the action of a small broom whose function is to remove the excess seeds. The seeding depth is adjusted by the operator which gives an angle to the handle of the tool. It is a very efficient seeder for sowing small seeds, especially those that are round. It is therefore very complementary to the seed drill Earthway.


 One of the peculiarities of the Glazer planter is that it requires a very clean board surface, a fault where debris tends to jam the wheels of the seed drill. The ground surface should also be firm so that the seed drill wheels do not sink too far. To enjoy the simplicity and precision of this seeder, more time must be spent on the preparation of the boards.


 To operate the Glazer Planter successfully and achieve good results, it is also necessary to learn to master it, because it requires a certain skill of the operator. It is, therefore, preferable to familiarize yourself with this tool by making trials on a small plot before sowing on a big surface.


 The Six Row Seeder is a six-row seeder designed to sow very intensively and thought before everything for the sowing of mesclun. It's the most sophisticated manual seeder that we use in our gardens. Its mechanism is similar to that of the Glazer, with the difference that the axle is driven by a pulley connected to two rollers that replace the wheels. These rollers facilitate the traction of the drill while allowing to seal the sown surface. The seed drill is also equipped with three gears allowing several density adjustments. The depth is normally adjusted by raising or lowering the front loader.


 The six rows of the seeder are spaced 5.5 centimeters apart, which leaves no space for the wise step of a hoe between the rows and, therefore, for the wedding. The idea behind this concept is that after two passages (one outward and one return over a width plank of 75 centimeters), the seed drill will have deposited a density of seeds allowing the mature crop to occupy all the bed space.

This idea is very good for intensifying production, but in return, it requires minimal weed pressure, an idea that is difficult to achieve.

Preparing the sowing

 The success of sowing in the ground requires good soil preparation. To favor!' efficiency seed drills, the seedbed must be cleaned of its debris and the leveled and refined soil to facilitate better seed-soil contact. The surface of the soil should also be well dried, otherwise, the planters tend to "stuff themselves". In a way Generally, if the earth sticks to the wheels of the seeder, it is a bad omen for the success of the sowing and it probably better to wait until the ground is drier.


 Before sowing, it is important to mark your rows to sow the most symmetrically possible. This practice is useful for the first weeding which takes place between the rows when the seedlings are often difficult to see (carrots at the cotyledon stage are particularly easy to destroy during first hoeing).


 Once the seed drill passes have been completed, we pass with the back of the rake to cover the seeds with a little soil, to avoid that they do not dry in the sun. A water line is then installed and irrigation is done as needed. For irrigation logistics reasons (our lines water can water two, four, or eight beds at a time), we try to do several seedlings in the ground at a time and therefore organized our cultural calendar and garden plan based on dates of sowing in the ground.