Seeds are first germinated in the germination bed before they are planted in polybags. A well-drained area with moderate shade is an ideal site for a germination bed.
The germination bed should be established on a flat or level area near a water source within the nursery site. The best kind of germination medium is sand or light soil because germination of seeds will be faster due to aeration and seedlings can be easily pulled out during uprooting with less damage to the roots. With pure garden soil, the germination of seeds tends to be slower because the soil is too heavy and less aerated.
Sow large seeds 2cm to 3cm deep in the soil. Sow small seeds about 0.5cm to 1cm deep or broadcast and cover them with a small amount of fine soil. The beds can also be covered with thatch or a plastic sheet till the seeds germinate.
Preparing a germination bed
- Garden tools (fork, shovel or mattock)
- Sand or light soil
- Hollow blocks or planks
- Shade nets, grass or banana leaves
Prepare a germination bed at most 1m wide, raised 15cm above the ground. Its length will depend on the number of seeds to be sown, size of seeds and available space.
Use wooden planks to protect the bed from erosion.
Use any of the following materials as a germination medium:
- Fine river sand
- Decomposed sawdust (dried for at least 6 months)
- Coir dust
You can use a combination of coir dust and garden soil or sawdust and garden soil. A depth of at least 10cm is recommended.