Planting (broadcasting?) lettuce seeds thickly

2ajsmamaMay 20, 2013

I transplanted my kale and spinach in rows following spacing on packets, and sowed seed for Tom Thumb lettuce, tatsoi, maruba santoh, and mustard in rows. But I'm wondering if I can broadcast my mesclun mix, arugula, BS Simpson, etc. thickly over a 2-3 ft wide row, maybe not a whole row, but a square block, if I want to make it easy to cut for baby greens? Would also save time planting, and wouldn't need mulch?

It's supposed to T-storm each day this week and could get heavy at times so I covered my carrot rows with burlap - could do the same with these blocks of lettuce/greens?

Has anybody tried this?

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The grass kind of broadcaster makes it too thick. I've had the best luck when making a 3row earthway, and going over it 2x.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 4:24PM
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I second what Marla said.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:13PM
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whats a 3 row earthway?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:55PM
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I don't have an earthway and didn't want to use the one DH uses to lime the lawn so I just did it by hand. We'll see how it goes - just enough area for 2 burlap bags to cover.

BTW, I covered the carrots, beets, and chard I seeded with burlap so that any potentially heavy rains don't wash them out, Dill and basil just got some old (left out all winter) hay. I figured I could take the burlap off this weekend, and if it wasn't wet I could water. We didn't get much rain last night and none yet today. I did not water the seeds in figuring it was best not to if rain was coming (or if rain came last night and then it was hot and dry the next few days. Any problems?

Randy - an Earthway is a wheeled seeder, kinda looks a bit like a surveyor's measuring wheel but has a seed plate (interchangeable, different sizes) and a hopper.

Here is a link that might be useful: Earthway seeder

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 6:20PM
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I made my 3row, by taking 3 separate Earthway seeders and attaching them together. I replaced the axles with 2' of all-thread. I used wing-nuts to space the different seeders. I found that the wing-nuts allowed my the change the distance between the rows, easier for me. Only thing I found that I needed to use was some extra weight over the drive wheel.

I've used it for years. I also have a single seeder.

I've used other seeders but didn't have as good results. I only bought 1 new and the other 3 at yard sales. My 3row would probably cost new about $300 or so.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Sounds like a good idea, provided your soil doesn't have a large seedbank of annual weed seeds.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:25PM
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I did pull a few weedlings as I seeded, but the garden had been covered in burlap all winter, double dug raised beds this year and added some aged manure. Could have brought some seeds in with that, but they've been prepped for more than a week and barely anything sprouted, very tiny, so I'm hoping not a big weedbank. We'll see after we get some real rain. But nothing like the ragweed, dandelions, etc. out back I have to dig out tomorrow (DH whacked them so nothing to pull, I have to dig). And those were mostly in the aisles - the beds out back were mostly covered with burlap/hay so not a whole lot of weeds in the beds themselves.

I'm thinking of seeding oats in the tomatoes, peppers and beans this year for living mulch that will winterkill but I don't know when to seed the oats - or how quickly they grow - don't want to compete or choke out the crops.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:51PM
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thanks marla. thats kind of what i thought it was. we've had the earthway seeder for more than 20 years. i find it works good for medium seed like beans and beets but not so good for lettuce and other small seed.i use the 4 row pinpoint seeder for that.
oats will grow tall quickly and not be a good living mulch. clover is a good living mulch. not all types though.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 6:12AM
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Yeah I knew clover but question is what does Agway carry? They cater more to homeowners & horse owners up here.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 6:38AM
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Any living mulch will tie up the nitrogen in the soil for this year's crop.

I've heavily planted green beans between my tomatoes with good luck which helps to 'fix' the nitrogen and allows the nitrogen to be used by the plants.

The only clover that I've noticed at RK was red clover. Remember, unless they sell bulk, clover comes in 50# bags.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 9:04AM
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Good pint about oats tying up N (though I wasn't going to plant where greens are. Legumes don't tie up the N that's why beans are good but I'm looking for low. Wasn't sure how quickly oats grew if i waited til july or so to seed. Clover would be good and actually if I can weed the wild blackberry hill we mowed a couple of years ago it would be great to have there too I can use 50 lbs but would like white clover.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:34AM
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We bought a 10# bag of White Dutch at FS this spring to broadcast in the orchard. For several years I have been kicking around the idea of getting some Buckwheat for a fall cover crop - makes good green manure, keeps weeds and erosion down and the bees love it.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 12:35PM
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We plant mesclun mix and broadcast heavily by hand or with a shaker. We have great luck this way as we cut our greens very small, it keeps the weeds down and then we thin out for second growth crops if needed.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:55PM
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