How to Make a Seedbed

Three Parts:Choosing a LocationCreating a Fine SoilPlanting Seedbeds

A seedbed is a plot of garden set aside to grow vegetables seeds, which can later be transplanted. It is the alternative to starting seeds in pots, and it is best used when you can control the temperature, soil quality and water in the bed. You can make a seedbed outside or in a greenhouse several months before you want to plant your garden and flowerbeds.

Part 1
Choosing a Location

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    Get to know your climate. If you have a short vegetable growing season, you should make your seedbed inside a greenhouse. You may need to bring in soil and compost from outside into your greenhouse.
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    Choose a location with plenty of light. Seeds require plenty of light, so the seedbed should be placed in an area with the most consistent light and the fewest shadows.
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    Pick an area that you can protect from wind, foraging animals and flooding. If these are big risks in your yard, consider purchasing or making a small plastic hoop house in which the seeds can be protected.
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    Don’t choose a plot where you grew tubers or had a heavy weed problem. The tuber roots and the weeds can crowd out the seedlings.

Part 2
Creating a Fine Soil

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    Prepare the base soil for your seedbed. Break up the soil with a rake. Allow sticky, soaked soil to dry out before.
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    Amend your soil. Add compost, if it is sandy or it has low nutrient value. Add store-bought sandy soil if there is so much organic matter in your soil that it sticks together.
    • Aim for a consistency of breadcrumbs in your final soil mix.[1]
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    Clean up the soil before you place it in your seedbed. Pick out weeds and debris. Pace the soil mix in a garden sieve with one-quarter inch (0.6cm) holes through which you can shake the soil.[2]
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    Transport enough soil to fill 8 to 12 inches of soil to your seedbed location. Spread it onto the area until it is level. Use the back of a garden rake to level and pat it down lightly.
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    Water the soil to make it firm. Try sprinkling it first to break the surface tension. Then, water more deeply.
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    Cover the soil with a plastic sheet and leave it for 10 days. Flies are attracted to fresh soil and they will disappear during this time. Weed the area if weeds germinate during this process.
    • The plastic sheet will serve to warm up the soil for better germination.
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    Prepare a slug trap by burying a small yogurt container so that the lip is flush with the soil level. Fill with beer. Slugs will be attracted to the yeast and will drown in the beer.[3]
    • Check it regularly if you have problems with slugs.

Part 3
Planting Seedbeds

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    Create “drills” in the soil with a hoe. These are small “v” shaped lines in your seedbed, which you can use to separate seedlings.
    • Using drills allows you to recognize the plants amidst weeds and other plants.
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    Water along the length of the seedbed. Seeds need moist soil to germinate.
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    Sprinkle seedlings just barely into the soil along the drill/row. Plant them according to the seed package directions for starting seeds.
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    Rake a thin layer of soil over the “v” lines so that the level of the soil is the same as the rest of the garden. Pat it down with the other side of your rake.
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    Label the row.[4]
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    Thin the seedlings after they germinate and start to grow. This will keep your seedbed from overcrowding before you transplant. Compost the unwanted seedlings.

Things You'll Need

  • Greenhouse
  • Hoop house
  • Plastic sheet
  • Garden soil
  • Compost
  • Garden sieve
  • Sandy soil
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Water
  • Yogurt container
  • Beer
  • Seeds
  • Labels

Article Info

Categories: Home and Garden