Nursery Preparation for Cool Season Vegetables Crop

As we say “Success of any production system depends on the kind of seed we are sowing”, so is true with seedlings. Healthy seedling grown in a well-managed nursery will decide the yield and consequently the profit. 

Definition of Nursery: “A vegetable nursery is a place or an establishment for raising and handling of young vegetable seedlings until they are ready for more permanent planting”. 

In other words, A nursery could be considered as a location where plants are cared for during the early stages of growth by providing optimum conditions for germination and subsequent growth until they become strong enough for planting in the open field conditions. 

Nursery Management is a technical and skill oriented job which require proper attention at different stages for the production of quality seedlings. 

It needs lot of planning, expertise and efficient management. So, there is a need of technical knowledge and careful planning. 

Why do we need nursery? 

Some vegetables require special cares during their early growth period. These are the vegetables which cannot be directly sown in the field. This is due to the small size of the seed. The other reason behind it, the expensiveness of seeds especially hybrid seeds. 

Generally, seed are to grow vegetables and to raise seedlings. For this, seedlings first need to be raised and then transplanted in the plot.  

The vegetables of cool season which need to be raised in nursery are: 

  • Chilli

  • Capsicum

  • Cauliflower

  • Cabbage

  • Kale 

  • Sprouting broccoli

  • Cucumber


  • It is possible to provide favorable growth conditions e.seed germination as well as growth. 

  • Better care of younger plants as it is very easy to look after nursery in a small area against pathogenic infection, pests and weeds.

  • Crop grown by nursery rising is quite early and fetch a higher price in the market, and so economically more profitable.

  • As vegetable seeds are expensive particularly hybrids, so we can economize the seed by sowing them in the nursery.

  • Nursery helps to reduce field management cost.

  • It helps in improving crop uniformity in the field.

Selection of site 

  • Nursery area should be well fenced to protect it from pet and wild animals.

  • The area should be near the water source.

  • The area should be free from water-logging.

  • Nursery should be situated near the main field for transplanting.

  • Nursery area should receive sunlight right from south-west aspect is most suitable.

  • Proper drainage must be provided.

Soil and Soil Preparation 

Soil Quality 

Raising of seedling require fertile and healthy soil. The soil should be loam to sandy loam. Soil should have good organic matter and aerated. Soil texture should be neither too coarse nor too fine. Soil pH should be of 6 to 7 approx. Soil should normally be rich in all essential nutrient elements. 

Soil Preparation 

It needs a deep cultivation of the nursery land either by soil turning plough or by spade and subsequent 2-3 hoeing with cultivar. 

After that all the clods, stones and weeds from the field should be removed and land should be leveled. 

Mix 2 Kg well rotten and farmyard manure\ compost or leaf compost or 500g vermicompost per square meter and mix in the soil. If the soil is heavy mix2-3 kg sand per square meter so that the seed emergence may not be hampered. 

Soil Treatment: for getting healthy seedlings 

For raising the healthy seedlings, soil must be treated to make it pathogen and pest free. We can use soil solarization methods or formalin solution. This should be done 10-15 days before seed sowing. Prepare formalin solution (1.5 to 2%) in one container and drench the soil @ 4-5 litre of water per square meter soil surface to saturate it up to depth of 15-20cm. Cover the drench area with polythene sheet. Hot steam can be used to treat the soil against harmful insect pest. 

Application of Fungicides 

Generally used fungicides: Captan, Thiram which kill the soil borne pathogens. 

Nursery Bed Preparation 

  • Nursery bed should be prepared according to the season and the crop.

  • In rainy season raised beds are prepared but in the winterand summer season flat bed should be prepared. 

  • Field should be ploughed and leveled well. Soil should be worked and thoroughly to obtain a fine and free of clods.

  • The level of the bed surface should be made little slanting on the two sides.

  • The breadth of the beds should be not more than 1.00 m.

  • The beds should be 15-20 cm raised from the ground surface.

  • The standard size of nursery bed is 3m × 1m ×15 cm.

  • A space between beds should be 30-45 cm.

  • Add 20-25 kg well rotten farmyard manure in each standard size nursery bed.

  • The number of nursery beds depends on the particular crop, season and growing area for transplanting.

  • The beds should be prepared in the east and west direction and lines/rows for sowing of seeds should be made from north tosouthdirection on the beds. 

Sowing of Seeds in the Nursery 

After the seed bed is prepared then the seed are sown in the nursery bed in the different ways. Those methods are as follows: 

Broadcast Methods  

Seeds are broadcasted in the prepared nursey bed and later on the seeds are covered with well rotten fine sieved and treated FYM or compost. The major disadvantage of this method is there is uneven distribution of seeds in the nursery becomes dense but this method is the commonly used and practiced. Growth and development of seedlings is poor. Due to dense distribution the chances of arising of damping-off disease is more. 

Line Sowing 

Line sowing is the best methods of seed sowing in nursery. Lines are made 0.5 to 1.0 cm deep parallel to the width at a distance of 5.0 cm from the line and seeds are sown or placed singly at a distance of about 1.0 cm apart. Cover the seeds with fine mixture of sand, soil and well rotten and sieved FYM or leaf compost etc. (1:1:1). After the seed covering a light irrigation must be given. The advantages of line sowing are: seedlings are healthy, bold and uniform. Less seeds are required then broadcasting method. Every seedling will get uniform light and air. Ease at weed management, disease and insect pest management. 

Seed Covering Material and its Treatment 

Seed Cover 

After seed sowing the seed that are sown either by broadcast method or line sowing required cover for better emergence. Therefore, a mixture of sand: soil: FYM in the ratio of 1:1:1 is prepared, well mixed together and treated with any method of soil treatment. It will be better to treat this mixture while treating the nursery soil. Apply 3-4 g Thiram per kg mixture if, it is not treated. Care should be taken that every seed is well covered by seed covering material. 

Use of Mulch 

To maintain the soil moisture for seed germination covers the seed bed with a thin layer of mulch of paddy straw or sugarcane trash, or sarkanda or any organic mulch during hot weather and by plastic mulch in cool weather. It has following advantages: 

  • It maintains the soil moisture and temperature for better seed germination.

  • It suppresses the weeds.

  • Protects from direct sunlight and raindrops.

  • Protects against bird damage.

Use of Shedding Net 

After seed germination during the seedling growth, if there is very high temperature (>30⁰C) then beds should be covered by 50% or 60% shedding nets of green/ green+ black colored, 60-90 cm above ground by the use of suitable support. 


  • The nursery beds require light irrigation with the help of rose can till the seeds get germinated.

  • Excess of rain water or irrigated water should be drained out from the field as when it is required otherwise plants may die due to excess of water.

  • Watering in the beds depend upon the weather condition. If temperature is high, open irrigation is applied. Need not to irrigate the beds during rainy days.


  • It is an important operation to remove weak, unhealthy, diseased, insect pests damaged and dense plants from the nursery beds keeping distance of about 0.5 to 1.0 cm from plant to plant.

  • The thinning facilitates balance light and air to each and every plant. It also helps in watching the diseased and insect pest attacked plants while moving around the nursery.

Weed Control 

Timely weeding in the nursery is important to get the healthy seeding therefore manually removing them or pre-emergence herbicides such as stomp by 3 ml per liter water must be sprayed on the nursery bed after the seed covering with the mixture.  

Plant Protection 

Adaptation of plant protection measures in the nursery against the incidence of insect pest and diseases is very important task to get the healthy seedlings. Damping-off seedlings, leaf curl, leaf blight diseases and leaf miner and borer infect the seedling in the nursery. The care for controlling them time to time is essential. These diseases are caused by pathogen infection and result in stunted growth of seedlings. These pathogens can be soil, seed, or airborne. Nursery established in the recently cleaned land hardly invite parasitic organisms and stunted growth of seedlings indicates the loss of fertility, excess watering, and dumping of seedlings in shady areas. 

As a preventive measure sterilization of nursery mixture, pre-treatment of vegetable seeds with a fungicide to control the disease. If the disease occurs, the casual pathogen can be identified by the expression of symptoms and accordingly fungicide may be applied.  


Generally, the damage caused by the insects can be controlled by maintaining better sanitation of the nursery area, adoption of suitable cultural practices, and need-based application of chemical and biological pesticides.  

Selection of Seedling for Transplanting 

After proper growth, seedlings are transplanted in the main field. At the time of transplanting, seedling Should have good rot system and free from any insect pests and diseases. 

Hardening of Plants in Nursery 

Hardening helps to withstand plants in unfavorable environment like low temperature, high temperature and hot dry wind”. It is a physiological process. In this process seedlings are given some artificial shocks at least 5-8 days before uprooting and transplanting. These shocks include 

  • Exposure to the sunlight

  • Removal of all the shedding nets, polythene sheets

  • Irrigation is stopped slowly.

Mr. Gurpreet Singh and 
Assistant Prof.
Misbah Hanif 
Student of B.Sc (Agri.) 
(Bhai Gurdas Group of Institution, Sangrur)  

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