After ploughing, a harrow or a scarifier was used to create a finer tilth before the seeds were sown.
On heavier or clay soils the lumps were broken up and the surface of the field made even and level by means of, a roller or a clod-crusher.
The first mechanical seed-drill was invented by Jethro Tull in about 1733. Until that time seeds were broad-cast by hand on the fields. Tull’s seed-drill allowed three rows of grain or turnip seeds to be sown at a time.
The seed-drill comprised a box to hold the seed, a row of coulters to make the furrows in which the seeds were deposited, pipes down which the seeds were dropped, and a harrow to cover over the seeds after sowing.
Later developments of the machinery increased the number of rows drilled and allowed the simultaneous sowing of artificial manure, or fertiliser as well as seeds. This was known as the “Northumberland method”.
Weeding between the rows of crops was done by hand or with a horse-drawn hoe. A man with a hand-hoe may hoe about half an acre in a day, while a horse-hoe could cover eight to ten acres in the same time.