GARDENERS in Huddersfield have turned to technology to sow seeds!
The nursery run by Kirklees Council at Leeds Road, Bradley, is using the latest in mechanisation to make sure its seeds are sown in time for the summer floral displays.
It is sowing 120,000 geranium seeds to provide the bulk of plants that provide a blaze of colour in Kirklees town centres, parks and open spaces.
To help speed up the process, the nursery is using a new machine which uses infra-red beam technology to make the process more efficient.
The machine sows an impressive 300 seeds a minute.
It works through a row of miniature nozzles which suck up individual seeds from a container.
This vibrates to separate the seeds and then shoots them down tubes into trays of small compost- filled pots moving along a conveyor belt.
An infra-red beam then makes sure the pots are lined up with the tubes to make sure each seed lands in the middle of each pot.
The beam also stops seeds being delivered if there are no pots to receive them.
The trays continue along the conveyor belt and under a dispenser that covers the seeds with a layer of vermiculite - used by professional growers to help germination.
They then move to the end of the belt, where they are removed and placed in the giant greenhouse.
Nursery manager Paul Marshall said of the new machine: "It's not necessarily any faster, as we need it at a speed that makes sure the seeds reach the pots safely and at which we can cope with getting the completed trays off the conveyor belt.
"But it is more accurate in getting one seed in one pot, meaning less wastage and more plants being produced from the same number of seeds."
The nursery grows more than 90 varieties of plants.
It has to produce around a million plants each year to keep the district in full bloom.
Over half a million plants are needed in the summer alone - the majority will be planted in early June.
An additional 45,000 are also needed for the eye-catching hanging baskets, troughs and barrels that decorate shops, businesses and town centres.