What You Need to Know About Nursery Setup and Management

Tolu Adebola

Tolu Adebola




Nursery setup might be difficult and tricky for a first-time grower because of the knowledge, and skills required for the nursery to be successful. This article will walk you through the practical stages of setting up a nursery and how to manage it.

What is a Nursery?


A nursery is a location where plants or seedlings are raised in preparation for field transplanting. The two main categories of nurseries are permanent nurseries and temporary nurseries. The permanent nursery is designed to produce a large number of seedlings over an extended period of time, and the temporary nursery is only set up for one planting season.


Plants are developed from seeds, and they are frequently grown in pots, seedling trays, or other transient containers, and this is where the nursery comes in. The crop’s adventure begins in the nursery; before transplanting, you get to carefully tend to your seeds before they grow into mature plants, using the proper nutrients, lighting, and watering schedules, among many others.


Nurseries are significant because not everyone can grow plants from seed as successfully as a plant nursery and because most people find it more convenient to buy a plant that has already been produced rather than try to grow it from seed. You can build nurseries in places where natural regeneration is weak or sluggish. 


Now that we have a good understanding of what a nursery is and its functions on the farm, you may be wondering what is required to establish an excellent nursery. Below are a few things needed to start a successful crop nursery;

1.  A Good Environment

As simple and basic as this may appear, it is critical for developing a healthy nursery. You must select an appropriate environment for your nursery. Look for a decent spot on your farm, away from rodents and pests that might harm the crops. 


Consider locating your nursery in a well-lit region. Environmental factors such as light have an impact on crop development and survival in both the   nursery and the field.  It is the source of energy that drives photosynthesis, the process by which plants manufacture the organic substrates essential for growth.

2.  Medium

A medium is a substance through which plant roots spread out and draw water and nutrients. A strong root system is built on choosing an appropriate growth medium, which is essential to effective nursery management. 


The nursery’s media is divided into two primary types: organic and soil-based. Compost, premix, and peat, among many others, are just a few examples of organic-based media that may be used for plants in nurseries. If you are a farmer or have an interest in nursery management, you must be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the various components of the medium and how they will impact plant growth.

3. Seedling Trays

The nursery needs a variety of equipment, tools, and accessories to carry out its daily routine of activities and for the variety of procedures to speed up and simplify the process, one of which is the seedling trays.


A seedling tray is a nursery tool in which plants are germinated, for the purpose of transplanting. They have the ability to hold multiple seeds because of their various compartments, and it is easier to extract the seedlings from the tray & separate them for transplanting. Seedling trays are available in a variety of sizes and shapes (105, 128, and 200 cells). They are often used because they ensure better nutrient availability for each seed and eliminate the need for multiple plantings on the farm.


For your seedling trays, choosing the best tray for your farm’s needs and devising the best method for filling the tray’s cells are to be considered. These are critical to the development of a successful nursery. 

4. Nutrients 

A healthy seedling requires a good supply of nutrients in the right amounts. The nutritional needs of seedlings will, of course, be impacted by every environmental or cultural aspect that influences development. 


Although it is impossible to set exact soil fertility criteria, you must research the best ways to produce wholesome, nutritious crops. 

It is important to note that the growth of soil microorganisms can be impacted by the addition of nutrients, particularly nitrogen, calcium, potassium, or phosphorus, which can also encourage the growth of diseases if not monitored. Therefore, you must be careful to give nutrients in the best way possible while maintaining the proper balance.


Farmers can also employ farmyard manure often as part of their soil management plans because manure includes macro and micronutrients that encourage plant development, and it costs little or nothing to get.

5. Seeds And Seed Treatment

The quality of your nursery plants is determined by the quality of your seedlings or planting materials and supplies. The most desired properties in seeds and planting materials must be sought during seed selection. To avoid complications, seeds must be obtained from an authorized or licensed dealer. 


Seed treatment tends to be overlooked by farmers, despite the fact that it can have an impact on the farm’s operations and productivity as a whole. It is necessary to treat seeds in order to rid them of storage insects and pathogenic organisms that can live on seeds. For the purpose of eradicating pests and diseases, seeds are treated by spraying fungicides on them, submerging them in water, or exposing them to solar energy.

6. Soil Treatment 

One of the issues faced by farmers is pests. Pests of all kinds can infect the soil or any planting media used in the nursery, causing wreckage to the seed. The existence of pests in the soil results in significant yield loss in the nursery, and the disease brought on by the pests could be transmitted to the farm by seeds.


Therefore, it is advised that farmers ensure that the nursery is free of pests and diseases. Soil solarization is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. Soil solarization is an effective method to manage weeds and soil-borne plant diseases such as bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and insect. The soil becomes warmer, thanks to solar radiation, helping to reduce the number of diseases that are found there.

7. Water Supply 

Water is essential to agriculture in general, so it is a deciding issue in the operations of the nursery. If you are searching for a place for your nursery, consider whether or not there is access to water in the area.


For plants to flourish, a nursery’s water supply must be of a certain quality. As a farmer, you should completely avoid contaminated water. The availability of sufficient water for irrigation must be assured. Additionally, the nursery has to be close to a water supply so that there is never a moment during plant-raising when there is a water shortage.

8. Water Management

Having a good and consistent water supply is one thing; understanding how to manage it is quite another. Water application in the nursery is governed by rules. 


The thing about plants is that when they are in an inadequate or excessive growing system, they may not immediately show the symptoms, so you have to stay on top of any issue by studying closely what your plants may need.


Since a plant’s requirements can change depending on how it is grown, the environment, the weather, the soil type, the soil moisture level  and other factors, it is nearly impossible to predict how much water your plants will need before or after germination. Always make sure to check the texture and the moisture of your medium and avoid overwatering or underwatering the plants.

9. Manpower

Farmers frequently struggle with poor nursery management brought on by a lack of labor. If you want your nursery to be successful, you will need additional help with maintenance. You cannot do it all. Nurseries need to be monitored carefully to avoid potential problems. 


To avoid mismanaging the seedlings, you should think about hiring additional help to take appropriate care of your nursery. The plants could be weed-encrusted in the nursery, and undesired species will hinder nursery plants’ development and vigor by competing with them for water and nutrients. The help of additional diversified labor could help point out and tackle problems that might arise in the nursery. 

10. Pre-transplanting, Transplanting, and Post-transplanting Operations

These are the preparations made before, during, and after the plants are moved to the farm. These preparations include the nursery’s setup, the watering system, the best location for the plants that will be grown there, the medium and tray selection, and disease and pest control. These activities will determine if the nursery activities will be successful or not.


All of your efforts will be in vain if you don’t keep track of your nursery’s activities, such as what promotes quicker growth, the elements that the soil must include, and the optimal time of year to grow each kind of plant. You must always take care of these concerns if you want your crop nursery to remain successful.


Farmwella continually hosts a Bootcamp to train farmers on how to set up their farms, including how to set up and manage the nursery. In this Bootcamp, we will walk farmers through realistic and practical actions they can take to set up a profitable farm. To register and save your spot, visit:





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