Home seed pelleting

Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)May 20, 2011

Is there any way to pellet your own small seeds at home?

I don't mean seed balls, just pellets, one seed to a pellet.

It's done commercially in machines, but I can't find anything on doing it yourself.

I am specifically wanting to pellet carrot seeds, so they can be seen easily to sow, and so they can be spaced so to limit having to thin them.


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The problem with pelleted seeds is that they are germinated and will only last a very short time. You may as well spread them on the ground and wet down the soil.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:16PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

gardendawgie, I'm not sure what your saying about pelleted seeds being germinated. Can you explain further? Thanks

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:36PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

You could try making strips of paper towels and spacing the seeds every couple of inches, then planting the whole strip.
I also don't quite understand why you would want to plant a carrot per pellet, seems like a WHOLE bunch of extra work as opposed to sprinkling and thinning.
Let us know what you decide to do and how it turns out!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 9:17PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

I would like to know how to pellet single seeds because of the !#%!&*! carrot rust fly (CRF)!

I want to know how to coat individual seeds in a white coating so I can handle them easily to place them at 1" spacing in all directions, then cover them with soil.

After sowing, I have to place a 3' wire mesh fence around the 3x10' bed, then wrap the fence with clear plastic. The CRF only fly two feet or less above the ground. By wrapping the perimeter with clear plastic to 3', I can let the sunlight in and keep the CRF out. This appears to be the only way I can have undamaged carrots. I tried it last year and got the first perfect carrots ever.

Once the carrots are up, I will have to thin them, but I don't want to unwrap the plastic and take the fence apart and put it back together again more than once.

I am aware that pelleted seed doesn't last long (because exposing them to moisture tends to start the germination process) -- that's fine. I would sow them as soon as they were dry enough to handle, I don't intend to store them.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 11:19PM
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I use napkins and Elmers' Glue. Fold the napkins to the desired pattern (use cheap napkins and you can fold to ~1.5 inch squares.) I put a tiny dot of glue to touch/grab a seed and set it lightly onto the glue. The toothpick will stick to seeds better if it's been dabbed into the glue, then wiped off before getting a seed. Let dry well (do not stack napkins until they have dried several hours or overnight or you will get a real mess...LOL)

I then lay the seeds onto prepared soil, put fine soil over the top, then put a piece of floating row cover over the seeded area and anchor with 1x1s or rocks or whatever. I then mist the whole thing well and make sure to do that as needed. I had carrots germinate in my raised beds in about 7 days and they were perfectly spaced and the germination was much better than I have ever seen. This same method works great with beets and other root crops. The beets and chard will need thinning. It's also good with lettuces and other tiny seeds that are hard to sow.

It's a bit obsessive, but I make these on winter nights when I am craving gardening and would otherwise be reading and ordering from seed catalogs... LOL! I have raised beds, so it's a very quick way to plant seeds on winter mornings when I don't have much time and it's cold outside! Can get a 4x12 bed planted pretty fast!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 11:32AM
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belgianpup - why not just buy pelleted carrot seed?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 1:02PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Commercial pelleted seed is usually restricted to varieties that are planted commercially.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 1:41PM
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I got it from Johnny's. They have it in gardener-size packets.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

I may have found a solution... in the bakery.

A woman passed me at the grocery store, and she had a cake in her cart, white icing with those little flat, round multi-colored sugar sprinkle things.

I bought some, mixed up some flour and water (the glue), lined up the sprinkles, put a daub of 'glue' on them with a cake decorator, and dropped one seed on each one. They're drying now.

The sugar will melt when watered, the sugar will feed the microbes, the flour/water glue should dissolve, and the seeds should sprout where I put them.

We shall see.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 8:06PM
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I use the paper towel and Elmer's just like Cindy. You can do it in the winter when you are bored.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 7:21AM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Well, scratch that method.

I just did half a dozen first. Then I sat down with a video and did almost 30. The candies are so small you can't hold them, they stick to the glue, the glue sticks to the bamboo skewer I'm applying the glue with, and the seed sticks to the stick.

Then I omitted the candies and just put a daub of flour/water glue on the teflon cookie sheet and stuck a seed into it. That was better, but 3 hours to do less than 600 was hardly what I would call speedy.

I guess I'm going to have to break down and do the seed tape things.

There must be a better way...


    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 4:48PM
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    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 9:10PM
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