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Plant the seed how-to guide, Hamilton Native Outpost

Hand Sowing Guide

Table of Contents

Hand sowing is a low-cost method of broadcast seeding. It can be useful for small areas or where other seeding methods seem impractical). Simply put the seed into a bucket under one arm and start slinging with the other. Before starting, make sure the seedbed is firm and weed-free.

Steps For Hand Sowing

Step 1: Mix Seed with a Carrier

Use a weed free carrier to “bulk up” the seed volume using a 1:1 ratio. Common carriers include pelletized or ag lime, dried distiller’s grain, kitty litter, sawdust, or rice hulls. We do not recommend Sand, pulverized corn or corn chops. If there is any doubt, double the amount of carrier. Next, pour the carrier and seed onto a flat, smooth surface or tarp and mix with a shovel or rake. Mix small amounts in a five-gallon bucket or large tub.

Step 2: Get Calibrated

After mixing the seed, visually divide the mix and the area to be seeded into quarters; you don’t want to run out of seed before you’ve finished! If there is seed left over, use the remainder by cross-hatch planting it in the opposite direction.

Step 3: Check Your Progress

To keep track of your progress:

a) Put out flags ahead of each pass or place flags as you go, so that you know where you’ve been.

b) Plant after a snow. It’s not necessary but can be helpful. The snow should be soft, before a hard crust has formed on the top.

c) Use landmarks like fence posts or trees along the edge of the planting.

Words of Caution:

For more information, watch our video: Can Native Plants be Seeded by Hand?

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