The normal practice of sowing seeds in a seed bed, is to sow the seeds in rows. The rows can be as long as you like, and simply made by pressing the back of a rake head into the soil along a line – either with string or a straight board to make it neat!
You should end up with a neat V shaped row. The seeds normally germinate successfully, but then you have to look after them of course!
The depth of the seed row will normally only a few mm deep (quarter inch maximum). Much depends upon the size of the seed. The seed packet will normally guide you for the correct depth to sow your seedlings.
Sow the seeds thinly, so as not to have overcrowded seedlings as an end result. (Overcrowded seedlings will mean leggy, weak plants that will not get off to a good start.)
The seeds should be covered lightly and firmed down. After all the seed sowing is done, gently water the seed bed to further consolidate the soil, and get the seeds off to a good start.
Seeds sown in a seed bed do not need as much watering as those sown in seed trays in a greenhouse. Residual moisture in the soil will percolate up to the root area. However, keep an eye on the seed bed – especially after the seeds have started to germinate, to ensure that the soil is moist enough. Do NOT over-water, as this can lead to disease problems.
As the seedlings start to grow, and when they are approximately 2in (50mm) tall, they can be thinned out where the seedlings are crowded. They can also be transplanted to grow on a bit more in the seed bed before transplanting into the garden. At this stage they will require regular watering – depending upon the weather conditions. Transplant the seedlings to around 6in apart for them to grow into sturdy plants before transplanting into the garden.
Before transplanting, make sure that the seedlings in the seed bed have been well watered for a couple of hours before. Then also water them into their new home.