Direct Seeding

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
(SARE) Farm Internship Curriculum and Handbook


Published 2007
Updated 2010
&copy NCAT


Direct Seeding

Learning Objectives
The learner will:

  • Gain a solid understanding of direct sowing, and in doing so create the best environment for seeds to thrive


What Crops Should Be Direct Sown and Why?

  • Root nature of direct sown crops: often tap rooted
  • Intended density of crop: Direct-sown crops require sowing at high density and eventual thinning
  • Scale of production: Many crops are direct sown on a large scale to avoid additional production costs
  • Exceptions: Many, if not all crops, including tap-rooted crops, may be transplanted if sown and transplanted in clusters


Review Optimal Environmental Considerations for Seed Germination

  • Soil Moisture
  • Degree of Secondary Cultivation
  • Soil temperature


Preparation of Bed

  • Incorporation of green manure crop (discuss)
  • Subsoiling (discuss)
  • Forming bed, addition and incorporation of amendments – activity/demonstration. Use tractor and rototiller. Discuss that seed size dictates fineness of soil needed to direct seed. Base amendments on needs of crop



  • Methods
    • Seeder – choose correct plate for seed, troubleshooting, gauging success
    • Hand – slower but more accurate, inappropriate for larger scale
  • Determining depth of seed – rule of thumb
  • Covering seed – with soil or sand – discuss pros and cons



  • Irrigation – frequent and sufficient enough to ensure good germination – critical at seedling stage in hot weather
  • Thinning – when plants reach appropriate size, thin to desired spacing – based on desired size at harvest. Demonstrate/practice thinning


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