A nursery bed is a specially prepared piece of land for raising seedlings. It is a temporary home for young plants, until they are eventually planted in a permanent garden.
Vegetables, such as cabbages, onions, tomatoes, eggplants, are best raised in the nursery bed.
The nursery should be near the main garden to avoid damage during transplanting.
The water source should be near for irrigation purposes. The bed should be protected from strong wind and direct rain drops.
It should also never be located on a slope, to avoid erosion of seeds, nutrients and it should face east to west direction.
The bed should never be located in a waterlogged area.
After site selection, clear all the weeds and grass, measure one metre wide of any convenience length, dig it well, at least to a depth of 0.3 metres to 0.45 metres so that stones and roots, lying underneath are all dug out, picked and thrown outside the nursery.
If the soil is rough, it should be sieved through a fi ne wire netting to remove gravel. The soil should be mixed with farmyard manure with one wheelbarrow of compost and sand for 3sq. metres to make at least a seven centimetre layer.
Charcoal dust and ash can also be mixed in the bed to correct the acidity of soil and keep away worms. Note that inorganic fertiliser can also be added during bed preparation at rate of 900gm of 5-10-5 NPK fertiliser per 9sq. metres area.
Seeds should be planted in rows at spacing of 15cm between rows, cover the seeds lightly and mulch the bed with dry grass.
The bed should have been watered thoroughly on the day prior to sowing.
Maintenance of nursery bed
Mulch the seedbed after sowing, until germination. Provide enough shade to the crop after germination one metre above the bed. Thin the crops properly, remove weak or diseased seedlings and keep the bed weed-free.
Transplant seedlings after 21 to 30 days. Harden the crop by removing the shade a day before transplanting as this gives the seedling chance to get used to the harsh sunshine.
Reduce water at this stage, trans-plant at recommended spacing per crop early in the morning or late in the evening from 6:00am to 10:00am or 4:00pm to 6:00pm.
The plants should receive water as soon as trans-planting is done.
Transplant seedlings after 21 to 30 days. Harden the crop by removing the shade a day before trans-planting.