Sow

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Origin

Middle English, from Old English sāwan; akin to Old High German sāwen to sow, Latin serere, Lithuanian sėti

  • [1] before 12th Century]

Definitions

transitive verb
transitive verb
b : to strew with or as if with seed
c : to introduce into a selected environment : implant
  • 2: to set in motion : foment <sow suspicion>
  • 3: to spread abroad : disperse

Description

Hand sowing or (planting) is the process of casting handfuls of seed over prepared ground: broadcasting (for which the technological term is derived from). Usually, a drag or harrow is employed to incorporate the seed into the soil. Though labor intensive for any but small areas, this method is still used in some situations. Practice is required to sow evenly and at the desired rate. A hand seeder can be used for sowing, though it is less of a help than it is for the smaller seeds of grasses and legumes.

Hand sowing may be combined with pre-sowing in seed trays. This allows the plants to come to strength indoors during cold periods (e.g. spring in temperate countries).

In agriculture, most seed is now sown using a seed drill, which offers greater precision; seed is sown evenly and at the desired rate. The drill also places the seed at a measured distance below the soil, so that less seed is required. The standard design uses a fluted feed metering system, which is volumetric in nature; individual seeds are not counted. Rows are typically about 10-30 cm apart, depending on the crop species and growing conditions. Several row opener types are used depending on soil type and local tradition. Grain drills are most often drawn by tractors, but can also be pulled by horses. Pickup trucks are sometimes used, since little draft is required.

A seed rate of about 100 kg of seed per hectare (2 bushels per acre) is typical, though rates vary considerably depending on crop species, soil conditions, and farmer's preference. Excessive rates can cause the crop to lodge, while too thin a rate will result in poor utilisation of the land, competition with weeds and a reduction in the yield.

Open-field planting refers to the form of sowing used historically in the agricultural context whereby fields are prepared generically and left open, as the name suggests, before being sown directly with seed. The seed is frequently left uncovered at the surface of the soil before germinating and therefore exposed to the prevailing climate and conditions like storms etc. This is in contrast to the seedbed method used more commonly in domestic gardening or more specific (modern) agricultural scenarios where the seed is applied beneath the soil surface and monitored and manually tended frequently to ensure more successful growth rates and better yields.[2]