It is very important to provide good drainage. Fill the seed-pots to one-quarter of their capacity with clean broken clay pots, called crocks, and give seed-boxes or pans a good layer of these crocks over the drainage holes coarse gravel or clinker ash can be used. On top of the drainage material, use clean moss, dried leaves or fibrous material shaken from partially decayed grass sod, to prevent the soil clogging the drainage holes. With seed-boxes a layer of large crocks over the spaces between the bottom boards is all that is needed, but the bottom of the box should be covered with leaves or fibre before the box is filled with soil.

The seed soil should be an open sandy mixture, consisting of approximately two parts sifted loam (good garden soil) and one part each of peat moss, or of sifted leaf-mould, and sand. For certain plants a higher proportion of organic material or a larger amount of sand may be used to meet special needs. If possible, home-mixed seed soils should be sterilized by steam, by baking, by treating with formalin (1 part to 50 of water) or by using a chemical preparation sold for this purpose.

Fill the pots, pans or seed-boxes with the soil mixture to within half an inch of the top; moderately firm it with the fingers (not thumbs) to get an even surface; and finally level it with the edge of a wooden plant label, ruler or any similar strip of wood. Not until the
surface is quite level should it be finally firmed with a presser, and then only lightly. (A presser is a flat piece of board with a short handle attached.) Next, water the soil-filled receptacles with a watering can fitted with a fine spray, or stand them in an old tub or similar container, and fill it with water to just below the rims of the pots or other containers. Allow the water to rise through the soil and moisten the surface, then lift out the  seed receptacles and allow them to drain. A soil thoroughly moistened before planting provides the best conditions for germination and avoids the need for frequent watering while the seeds are germinating.
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