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Planting Introduction - Agriculture Form 2

Suggested Practical Activities in Planting

Activity 1

Learners to collect the following planting materials and display them in your work station for 2months dry maize grains and grass splits. After two months,plant the dry maize grains and grass splits.

  • Obtain agriculture soil in containers for example plastic basins.
  • Plant two maize seeds per hole and the grass splits at a spacing of 10cm X 10cm between holes.
  • Water thoroughly daily.
  • Record your observation after 7days in the table below.

Activity 2
Learners to collect two maize cobs, shell to obtain maize seeds and in the work station select the most suitable seeds for planting.

Activity 3
Learners to collect 20 freshly harvested Irish potato stem tubers .
Keep 10 of them in diffuse (partial light conditions )light for weeks and the other 10 in total darkness.
Record your observations after two weeks.


Background Information

A crop is a product of cultivated land. Before planting any crop it is important that land is prepared to an appropriate tilth for the material to be planted.
The methods of seedbed preparation include;
  • Land clearing
  • Primary cultivation
  • Secondary cultivation
  • Tertiary cultivation

See the video below to appreciate land preparation


Seed dormancy

The condition in which the process of germination in seeds is inhibited.

The process of sprouting irish potato setts before they can be planted

Seed inoculation

The process of treating legume seeds with the right kind of rhizobium bacteria to encourage nodule formation.


A method of breaking dormancy by scratching the seed coat with sand paper to make it permeable to water.

Certified seeds

Seeds tested add proven to be free from disease causing organisms and to have 100% germination potential.


Topic Objectives.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • state the correct planting materials for various crops.
  • select and prepare planting materials.
  • state the factors which determine the depth of planting.
  • describe the planting procedures for different crops.
  • state factors that determine seed rate spacing and plant population.
  • calculate plant population.

Crop Production II (Planting)


Planting is the placement of seeds, seedlings or vegetative propagation parts in conditions that will allow them to grow, develop into mature plants and multiply.

In this topic we shall discuss selection, and preparation of the different types of planting materials. In order to ensure proper germination , the depth of planting for different materials will be considered. To achieve high quality products, the correct plant population must be maintained.

See the video below to appreciate selection of planting materials


Types of planting materials

Various crops are established using different materials such as seeds and vegetative parts. Both seeds and vegetative parts have advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of using seeds

  • Easy to treat against pests and diseases.
  • Less bulky thus easy to handle when planting.
  • Easy to store.
  • Fertilizer and manure application can be mechanized during seed planting.
  • Possible to develop new crop varieties due to cross pollination.

Disadvantages of using seeds

  • Some have long dormancy.
  • Plants raised form seeds have variations form mother plant due to cross pollination.
  • Crops mature late as compared to vegetative parts.
  • Some may lose viability if stored for a long time.

Advantages of using vegetative parts

Crops produced by use of vegetative parts mature much faster this method can also be used to establish different fruits on same tree as in budding and grafting in citrus fruits.

Disadvantages of using vegetative parts

The problem with vegetative parts is that they cannot be stored for long and they are very bulky to handle.


Selection of planting materials

Farmers need to select planting materials carefully for successful establishment. Seeds for example should be clean, be of the right shape and size and should not be damaged in any way. They should be selected from healthy vigorous plants.

Factors to consider during selection

  • Certified seeds -farmers should plant certified seeds for better establishment.

  • Purity of material- seeds should not be mixed with any foreign material such as weed seeds and should be true to type.

Germination percentage

Farmers should select seeds having high germination percentage
Germination percentage =no.of germinating seeds , divided by no. of seeds planted multiplied by 100.


Preparation of planting materials

Various methods are used in preparing materials for planting.
They include the methods used breaking seed dormancy

Dormancy is a condition when germination process is inhibited in seeds.
The methods used in breaking seed dormancy include
(i) Soaking in water- Soaked for 24 - 48 hours till they swell.
(ii) Chemical treatment - seeds are dipped in chemicals like concentrated sulphuric acid for 2 minutes to wear off the seed coat.
(iii) Mechanical Method- Scratching the coat to make it more permeable to water.
(iv) Heat treatment- Seeds soaked in hot water for 3 - 5 minutes.
(v) Chitting / Sprouting -The process by which selected Irish potato setts are sprouted before planting. This is done in a partially darkened room.
Other methods used in preparing materials for planting include

Seed Dressing

Coating of seed with appropriate fungicide or insecticide or both to protect seedling form soil borne pests and diseases

Seed inoculation

This is done to increase nitrogen fixation in legume crops e.g beans and Lucerne. Inoculated seeds should not be seed dressed since chemicals will kill the bacterium


This is the placement of planting materials in the soil for regeneration.
Planting should be done at the right time.

It is however determined by the following factors:

  • Amount and distribution of rainfall.
  • Time of harvesting.
  • Prevalence of pests and diseases.
  • Market demand.
  • Soil type.
  • Weed control.

Advantages of early planting

  • Farmers produce fetch high prices in the market.
  • Crops benefit from nitrogen flush.
  • Crops establish earlier than weeds.
  • Crops escape pests and disease attack.

Methods of planting

There are various methods applied in planting crops depending on the planting materials. They include:


Seeds are randomly spread by hand in small scale or by tractors in large scale. It is common with pasture seeds which are very tiny.

Advantages of broadcasting

  • Better soil coverage.
  • Less time to plant.
  • Less skill required.

Disadvantages of broadcasting

  • Difficult to establish plant population.
  • Uneven germination of seeds.
  • Overcrowding of seedlings.
  • Mechanical operations difficult to carry out.

Row Planting

In this method the distance between plants in a row and between rows is known
Advantages of row planting.

  • Low seed rates
  • Easy to carry out various practices e.g. weeding
  • Easy to establish plant population

Disadvantages of row planting

  • Consumes more time.
  • Soil not well covered so liable to erosion.
  • Requires skill

Other methods used in planting

Other methods applied in planting include:

Over sowing and Under sowing

Over sowing

is introduction of pasture legume in an existing grass pasture. This method is common with pasture crops

Under sowing

is introduction of pasture crop in an existing cover crop e.g. maize. This method is also common with pasture crops.

Plant population

This is the ideal number of plants that can be accommodated in a given area of land. Factors that affect plant population include spacing, seed rate and depth of planting.

Plant population is determined by spacing of plant in the field.
Plant population is an important management factor that influences crop yield.

Plant Spacing

It is the distance of plants between and within the rows.

Factors determining spacing
-Size of plant
-Moisture availability
-Type of machinery
- Soil fertility
-Pest and disease prevalence
-Growth habit
-Number of seeds per hole
-Purpose of the crop

Seed rate

Refers to quantity of seeds planted in an area. It is influenced by the following factors:
-Seed purity
-No. of seeds per hole
-Purpose of the crop

Table showing selected crops and their recommended spacing


Depth of planting

Distance from soil surface to where seeds are placed. It is determined by the following factors:
-Size of the seed
-Soil type
-Soil moisture content.
-Type of germination.

Type of germination

Seeds with epigeal type of germination that is those that carry cotyledons above the soil surface such as beans should be planted shallowly.

Seeds with hypogeal germination leave their cotyledon underground for example maize and should be planted relatively deeper.

See the video below to appreciate seedbed preparation for planting.

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