This section is from the book "A Dictionary Of Modern Gardening", by George William Johnson, David Landreth. Also available from Amazon: The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses.
Broadcast, is a mode of sowing now rapidly falling into disuse in the garden as well as in the field. It has no one advantage over sowing in drills except that the work of sowing is done more expeditiously. Subsequently, the saving is all on the side of the drill system. See Drilling. I know of no sowing where the broadcast mode is preferable, except in the case of grass seeds upon lawns. Loudon thus describes the operation of broadcast sowing: - "The seed is taken up in por tions in the hand, and dispersed by a horizontal movement of the arm to the extent of a semicircle, opening the hand at the same time, and scattering the seeds in the air, so as they may fall as equally as possible over the breadth taken in by the sower at once, and which is generally six feet, that being the diameter of the circle in which his hand moves through half the circumference. In sowing broadcast on the surface of his beds, and in narrow strips or borders, the seeds are dispersed between the thumb and fingers by horizontal movements of the hand in segments of smaller circles".