Jun 6, 2015


Reasons for Sowing Seeds in a  Nursery

Seeds are sown in a nursery for two reasons:-
1.         The seeds are very small
2.        The seedlings are very delicate

The Nursery Shed

The nursery shed should have:-
  • a concrete floor
  •  a clear plastic sheet covering the roof to shelter seedlings from  heavy rainfall but will allow light to enter the nursery
  •  hedges or trees around the nursery to protect young plants from strong drying winds
  •  stands for placing seed boxes to keep them above the ground
  •  a regular supply of water
  •  tools and equipment and a supply of potting soil

Potting or Nursery Soil (Soil used to raise seedlings) should:-

  • be free from weeds, pests, and plant diseases
  • be well aerated
  •  drain readily
  •  have adequate nutrients

A good potting soil is made from a mixture of:-
      Organic matter


  •  dimensions of 35cm X 25cm X 7cm deep
  • slits at the base for drainage

  •     similar size to wooden seed boxes
  •     have separate compartments for sowing seeds
  •     have a series of small drainage holes at their base

Seedbox Preparation                                      

A well-prepared seed box contains an adequate amount of soil which is well drained and aerated.
  1. Place a thin layer of straw at the bottom of the seed box to cover slits and prevent soil from falling through
  2.  Place a layer of 3-4cm nursery soil into the seed box.
  3.  Remove excess soil using a piece of wood.
  4. Firm the soil to a depth of 1-1.5cm from the top of the box.
  5. Water soil and set aside for sowing seeds. 

Sowing Seeds


  1. Sow seeds either in long rows or by broadcasting over the entire soil surface
  2.  Lightly cover seeds with a layer of finely sifted nursery soil.
  3. Gently water in the seeds.
  4. Label the boxes with the name of the seeds and the date of sowing.
  5. Cover seed boxes and place in a cool sheltered area to await germination.
  6. Water occasionally before germination to prevent soil from drying out.


Germination should take 6-8 days but differs depending on the species of seed sown. When 70-75% of the seeds have germinated the covering is removed and seedlings are exposed to light.

Post-germination Care  

Thinning out

Seedlings are thinned out at the 2-3 leaf stage


  •           Watering
  •           Soil aeration
  •          Weed control
  •           Application of fertilizers
  •         Pest and disease control

Hardening off

Seedlings are hardened off about 1 week before transplanting into the field by:
  •  less frequent watering
  • allowing soil to dry out
  • exposing seedlings to sun and rainfall


After hardening off, young plants are taken out of seed boxes, pots or lifted from nursery beds and replanted in the field at their correct spacing.