How to grow German Chamomile from seed – Seeding Rate and Planting Distances
German Chamomile plants are propagated by seed. Many farmers sow directly the seeds in the field during early autumn, while others sow the seeds in indoor seedbeds during autumn and transplant about 4 weeks later. Each method has pros and cons. Sowing directly in the field costs much less than creating seedbeds with thousands of plants and transplant them one by one in the field (something that is labor intensive). On the other hand, direct seeding in the field is risky, as the grower cannot control the temperature and humidity levels. Thus, direct seeding may result in poor germination rates if the conditions are not suitable. Finally, more weeds will normally develop through direct seeding, contrary to transplanting, where the plants will cover the ground quickly and not let the weeds establish. We will present both ways.
Sowing indoors in the seedbed. In early autumn, we fill a seedbed with soil mix and a rational quantity of well-rotted manure. We plant 2-3 seeds in each individual pot of the seed bed, and we cover with a very thin soil mix. Alternatively, we need about 21 to 28 oz. (0,6 - 0,8 kg) of seeds for a large seedbed of 5381 ft² (500 m2), in order to produce enough plants for one hectare (1 hectare = 10.000 m2 = 2,47 acres). In any case, we have to place the seeds at the surface and cover lightly with soil. If we put them even 2 inches (5 cm) deep, they will not germinate. We can also mix the seeds with river sand (1 part of seeds with 10 parts of river sand). Some farmers cover the seedbed with a plastic bag. In any case, the temperature must be adjusted at 60-68°F (15-20°C). We check every day the seedbed and if the soil is dry, we water with a spray bottle. The soil should be kept moist (but not soggy), because otherwise the seeds will not germinate. We can remove the plastic bag and transfer the seedbed next to a window with exposure to sunlight, but only after the seeds have started to germinate. We then continue to water the seedbed until the plants are ready for transplanting. Transplant can normally take place 4 weeks after sowing. We shall loosen the soil and smooth the surface of our field. We transplant our seedlings leaving a distance of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) between each plant. We press slightly the soil around the roots. We water carefully every other day, keeping the soil moist (but not soggy) until they grow well.
Direct seeding in the field. We shall first plow well and loosen the soil. Then, it is essential to remove any weeds and small or bigger stones that may exist. We water the planting area slightly and then we sow the seeds. We need 21 to 28 oz. (0,6 - 0,8 kg) of seeds per hectare. We may mix the seeds with river sand (1 part of seeds with 10 parts. of river sand), so that the seeds will stay in the surface of the field and not be removed by insects, wind etc. The seeds are very small, so we have to place them at the surface and cover lightly with soil. If we put them even 2 inches (5 cm) deep, they will not germinate. We just cover slightly with soil and irrigate. The key from now on is to keep the soil moist but not soggy. The seeds should normally germinate within 2-3 weeks. We may thin the plants when they reach a height of 2 inches (5 cm), leaving a distance of 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) between them.
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Growing German Chamomile from Seed and Planting
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