The other method for getting a desired crop to grow is planting the seed directly in the soil. Once a piece of land has been properly prepared for planting (see field preparation) the seed may be planted at the proper depth and spacing. At the Arcata Educational Farm we use a device known as the seed drill. The seed drill operates using different sized plates corresponding to seed size. When the drill is pushed along a bed, the plates spin and seeds are dropped into the soil at the appropriate spacing and depth.
- Mechanized direct seeding (small scale)
- With the help of a seed drill, this method takes less initial planting time and labor than transplanting
- More labor is spent weeding and thinning these crops. Sowing seeds directly into the soil gives weeds a chance to out compete the desired crop. Thinning is especially crucial because the seed drill tends to bunch seeds together. Thinning gives the crop the appropriate space it needs to grow to its full potential.
- Not a consistent rate of germination. As compared to transplanting where starts are propagated in the protection of the greenhouse, seeds sown directly into beds are more susceptible to damage from pests, weather and any other possible deterrents to its growth.
- Field must be more thoroughly prepared (i.e. tilled finer). The finer the tilth the more efficient the seed drill is.