This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The following points, obtained from an old German Fern grower, may be useful to amateurs who experience trouble in evenly sowing fine seed, such as Fern spores, Lygodium scandens, Calceolaria, etc. Take a sheet of white pasteboard, rub the seed lightly over it until it covers the exact circumference of the pot it is to be sown in. If the board is not too smooth the seed will adhere to it, so it can be inverted on the pot, and by tapping gently it will fall as evenly as it was rubbed on the pasteboard.
To get the moist air necessary to grow a small quantity of fern spores, etc., where it is not justifiable in keeping a whole house in the proper conditions, fill a pot one-third full of potsherd, on this put the peat, or whatever the seed is to be sown on; then place it in a pan containing just enough water to reach the top of the potsherd, and keep it covered closely with a pane of glass.
Fine green wire-netting placed over delicate seedlings will protect them from insects, and give just the right shade without drawing them, as other shades are apt to do. Tuberous Begonias, etc., which are usually so difficult to raise from seed, can be grown without trouble by using it; if doubled and put over newly sown seed, they will germinate one-third quicker; the cost is only thirty cents per yard.
Seedlings in general should never be watered later than an hour or two before sundown, as the water will not evaporate readily, and the damp surface is apt to cause a fungus, which will frequently "damp off" every plant during one night. A pot of seedlings, comparatively dry, left by the side of one watered late, will be in the same condition in the morning, while the latter will frequently be entirely gone.