Methods Of Sowing





Clover seed may be sown by hand, by hand machines,

and by the grain drill, with or without a grass-seed sowing attachment.

These respective methods of sowing will be discussed briefly here, but

since they are practically the same as the methods to be followed in

sowing grass seeds, and since they are discussed more fully in the book

Grasses and How to Grow Them by the author, readers who wish to pursue

the subject further are referred to the book just named.



When clovers are sown by hand, usually but one hand is used. Enough seed

is lifted between the thumb and two forefingers of the right hand to

suffice for scattering by one swing of the same. On the return trip

across the field the seed should be made to overlap somewhat the seed

sown when going in the opposite direction. In other words, the seed is

sown in strips or bands, as it were, each strip being finished in one

round. Some sowers, more expert at their work, sow with both hands and

complete the strip each time they walk over the field. When the ground

is plowed in lands of moderate width the furrows will serve to enable

the sower to sow in straight lines. Where the sowing is done on land

sown to grain by the drill, the drill marks may be made to effect the

same result. When sown on light snows, the foot-marks will serve as

guides. In the absence of marks it will be necessary to use stakes to

guide the sower. Four stakes are used, two of which are set at each end

of the field, and these are moved as each cast is made. At each round

made over the field, from 12 feet to 15 feet may be sown by the sower

who sows only with one hand. The sower with two hands will accomplish

twice as much.



A comparatively still time should be chosen for sowing the seed by hand,

more especially when grass seeds, which are usually lighter, are sown at

the same time. In hand sowing much care is necessary in scattering the

seed, so that each cast of the seed will spread evenly as it falls,

leaving no bare spaces between the cast from the hand or between the

strips sown at one time. Hand sowing, especially in the Western States,

is in a sense a lost art, owing to the extent to which machine sowing is

practised; nevertheless, it is an accomplishment which every farmer

should possess, since it will oftentimes be found very convenient when

sowing small quantities of seed, and in sowing seeds in mixtures which

cannot be so well sown by machines.



Hand machines are of various kinds. Those most in favor for ordinary

sowing consist of a seeder wheeled over the ground on a frame resembling

that of a wheelbarrow. It sows about 12 feet in width at each cast of

the seed. It enables the sower to sow the seed while considerable wind

is blowing and to sow it quite evenly, but it is not adapted to the

sowing of all kinds of grass and clover mixtures, which it may be

desirable to sow together, since they do not always feed out evenly,

owing to a difference in size, in weight, in shape and in the character

of the covering.



When clover seed is sown with the grain drill, it is sometimes sown

separately from grain; that is, without a nurse crop, and is deposited

in the soil by the same tubes. But it is only some makes of drills that

will do this. Clover seed, and especially alfalfa, may be thus sown with

much advantage on certain of the Western and Southern soils, especially

on those that are light and open in character, and when the seed is to

be put in without a nurse crop. Eastern soils are usually too heavy to

admit of depositing the seed thus deeply, but to this there are some

exceptions.



When sown with a nurse crop, the seed is in some instances mixed with

the grain before it is sown. In some instances it is mixed before it is

brought to the field. At other times it is added when the grain has been

put in the seed-box of the drill. This method of sowing is adapted to

certain soils of the Western prairies and to very open soils in some

other localities, but under average conditions it buries seeds too

deeply. There is the further objection that they all grow in the line of

the grain plants and are more shaded than they would be otherwise.

Nevertheless, under some conditions this method of sowing the plants is

usually satisfactory.



One of the most satisfactory methods of sowing clover seeds along with a

nurse crop is to sow the clover with a seeder attachment; that is, an

attachment for sowing small seeds, which will deposit the same before or

behind the grain tubes as may be desired. The seed is thus sown at the

same time as the grain, and in the process is scattered evenly over the

surface of the ground. These seeder attachments, however, will not sow

all kinds of clover and grass mixtures any more than will hand-sowing

machines do the same.





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