These are the activities carried out during planting. It is a deliberate establishment of seeds or seedlings in the soil, for proper germination to take place.
Planting can be done manually or mechanically. The activities involved during planting include;
1. Seed Treatment:
Seeds or other planting materials must be treated with chemicals, to make them free from pests and disease organisms. This can be achieved by soaking the seeds in 60°C warm water, for twenty minutes, and to sun-dry them later.
Seed treatment can also be done by applying DD force treatment.
2. Planting Dates:
This is the period when a particular crop is planted within the year. It varies from one crop to the other. A farmer must know the actual planting date for his crop.
This is the distance between and within rows of crops, that is, between one crop and another, or between one row and another. Good spacing encourages the proper growth of crops.
Spacing also determines the number of planting materials needed for planting operations.
4. Seed Rate:
This is the amount of seed required to plant, on a hectare of land, for a growing season. The seed rate of a crop should be based on the pure live seed ratio, for proper germination to take place.
It is expressed in kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) in the case of seeds, and in the number of stands per hectare, for vegetatively propagated crops.
The seed rate differs from one crop to another. For example, the speed rate for maize is 25-30kg/ha and cowpea is 15-20kg/ha.
5. Sowing or Seed Depth:
Planting at a proper and uniform depth, into a well-prepared field that has an adequate supply of moisture, favours seedling’s vigour and establishment of a good stand.
A proper seed depth depends on the type of soil and the size of the seed. A large-seeded crop should be planted deeper than small-seeded crops. This is because larger seeds have more stored food, for the germination needed, for the emergence of the seedlings.
6. Planting or Sowing:
This is the act of placing a specified number of seeds in the soil. Seeds may be planted directly in the field, or raised in the nursery before transplanting to the field. The two methods of planting include;
a. Field Planting: Seeds, of some crops, are planted directly in the field on ridges or flat ground. This is called in situ planting. Legumes and cereals are planted directly into the field.
b. Planting in the Nursery beds: This is a place where young plants are raised under intensive care, and later transplanted into permanent fields or plots. Examples of crops that required nursery practices are cocoa, kola, orange, tomato, pepper, etc.