A seedbed or seedling bed is a specially prepared box used to grow plants in a controlled environment before transplanting them into a garden. A seedling bed is used to increase the number of seeds that germinate. Once the seedlings have matured in the seedling bed, they are then transplanted into a larger bed or a garden.

The preparation of a seedbed may include:

  1. The removal of debris. Insect eggs and disease spores are often found in plant debris and so this is removed from the plot. Stones and larger debris will also physically prevent the seedlings from growing.
  2. levelling. The site will have been levelled for even drainage.
  3. break up the soil. Compacted soil will be broken up by Digging. This allows air and water to enter, and helps the seedling penetrate the soil. Smaller seeds require a finer soil structure. The surface the soil can be broken down into a fine granular structure using a tool such as a rake.
  4. Soil improvement. The soil structure may be improved by the introduction of organic matter such as compost or peat.
  5. Fertilizing. The nitrate and phosphate levels of the soil can be adjusted with fertilizer. If the soil is deficient in any micro nutrients, these too can be added.

The seedlings may be left to grow to adult plants in the seedbed, perhaps after thinning to remove the weaker ones, or they may be moved to a border as young plants.

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