Planting materials are either planted directly in a seedbed or indirectly through a nursery bed. A seedbed is a piece of land which could be small or large and prepared to receive planting materials. A nursery bed on the other hand is a small plot of land specially prepared for raising seedlings or planting materials before transplanting. It is usually 1m wide and any convenient length depending on the quantity of seedlings to be raised.
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A seedling bed is a special type of nursery bed used for raising seedlings pricked out from the nursery bed due to overcrowding before they are ready for transplanting. Pricking out refers to the removal of seedlings from a nursery bed to a seedling bed. Nursery practices refer to all the activities carried out throughout a nursery life to raise seedlings.
Importance of Nursery Bed in Crop Production
To facilitate the production of many seedlings in a small area.
It is easy to carry out management practices in a nursery than in the seedbed.
It facilitates the planting of small seeds which develop into strong seedlings that are easily transplanted.
It ensures transplanting of only healthy and vigorous growing seedlings.
It reduces the period taken by the crop in the field.
Excess seedlings from the nursery may be sold to earn income.
Selection of a Nursery Site
Factors to consider;
- Nearness to the water source.
- Type of soil.-should be well drained, deep and fertile, preferably loam soil.
- -it should be situated on a gentle slope to prevent flooding and erosion through surface run-off.
- Previous cropping.-to avoid buildup of pests and diseases associated with particular plant families, consider the preceding crops.
- -select a site that is protected from theft and destruction by animals.
- Protection against strong winds and heat of the sun.-select a sheltered place. i.e. to avoid excessive evapotranspiration and uprooting seedlings.