WANTED: Advice: How many seeds per pack is fair, expected, ...

seedtraderyandexJuly 29, 2014

Advice: How many seeds per pack is fair, expected, or will actually be used/planted by a trade/SASE receiver?

I'm trying to pack up seeds using a method easier than counting out x number.

Plus, I don't know how many seeds should be put in a pack, to be a reasonable amount, yet not have a lot remain unused by someone.

I used radish seed as a test subject. one quarter of a TEAspoon, = 137 seeds. I don't think many people would plant that many, even in succession plantings.

I didn't have a 1/8th teaspoon measure, so I found a Lego baseball cap to use.

One Lego ball cap, will hold 32 radish seeds. Would that seem like a fair, and usable amount for people?

Or would two caps 64 radish seeds be better?

Kale seeds are smaller, so one Lego cap might be 40 of those, and even more of amaranth, which is an even smaller seed type.

Carrots are a small seed too, but carrots are used much more than other root crops. So would 30+ seeds of those be enough for a years planting?

Lettuce seeds are also small. How many would one expect?

I don't think most people would plant 40 kale seeds.

Maybe they'd save them for next year.

How many beet seeds would be fair or used per yr?

And also take into account thinning, or duds?

A "just give what you want, or have" answer won't be that helpful.

I have about 2 ounces of each kale, and radish seeds.

I want to pack them up, and am seeking opinions on what people think is a fair, reasonable, or expected "serving size" should be, so people can grow a reasonable amount, with out having many unused seeds left over.

I want to make the maximum number of packs, with reasonable potential, for people, for one season.

For Larger seeds (cucumber, melon, squash, sunflower pumpkin ect), I think 10 is a reasonable number, except for corn, which needs a group for decent pollination.

Do you agree?

Peas and beans, may need 20 seeds per pack, or more, to have a reasonable seed yield for eating.

Well, let me know how many seeds of the different sizes you'd expect in a trade.


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Look at some of the seed companies and what they put in a pack. 20 carrot seeds may be a meal or two, but 20 squash seeds will yield a LOT of squash! Think in terms of harvest. For what it's worth, I have pretty much given up on trading here (except for special varieties) because I'm tired of trading 10 tomato seeds for 10 lettuce seeds. Obviously, the tomato way outproduces the lettuce! postage is high, and it has started costing more to trade a few seeds here than to get "too many" commercial seeds. If people would include more seeds, I could afford it. That's my rant.
When I was trading, I always counted out the seeds for each order as it came in. That way I could offer each person how many they wanted.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:06AM
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mastergarder2003(5 MI.)

10-25 depending on size of large seed to small or how much came in that year in the garden If I have a nice trade I give more back too.
Sometimes i feel some people dont give much I understand some are from trades or not to many on hand but if you have them share them. Big squash seed smaller trades and letting who you are trading with know is important.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:25PM
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kilngod z6b(Zone 6b)

An easy way is to have 25 be the standard, but measure for ease. I eyeball it, and for tiny seed 1/8 t is good, radish 1/4 or slightly less, for medium seeds like hollyhocks or similar 1/2t - 1t. for larger, like beans, just count them. I generally am sending much more seed than I promise, but it is easier/faster.

I would use 137 radish seeds easily - remember 13-26 will not sprout, 13-26 will be eaten by the birds. Of the remaining 85 -111, 13-26 will be destroyed buy bugs or disease, leaving about 59-98 for me to eat.

10-20% no grow
10-20% birds
10-20% bugs or other critters
the rest for me.

My FIL says something like plant 1 for the critters, 1 for the bugs, and 1 for yourself. That takes 137 seeds down to about 45 radishes. Now, I sure don't want that many tomatoes, but radishes, carrots, other small seeds, yes.

If you are wanting to maximize your seed trades compared to your seed stock, read the FAQ for this seed eschange forum, stick with the standard numbers (which is pre-figured out for general traders preferences), and count seeds.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 6:11PM
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kchd(7b/8a MS)

I totally agree with kilngod.

I aim for 24-30 seeds when they are "countable" (but not bigger than beans or corn.) I have TONS of some of my seeds, and really enjoy sharing them, so I send more. Some of the seeds I receive are so tiny, they are like dust. I go with the rule of thumb that if seeds are uncountable, 1/8 teaspoon is plenty.

Unlike Jedonne's opinion, many of the seeds I seek are natives and can be hard to come by, so I really appreciate the opportunity to trade seeds with folks who have seeds that are not commonly available. And trading seeds on GW allows you to test a small sample of something you may never have tried otherwise. I have found some real gems in the heirloom veggies this way (Thank you, GW Members!).

In my opinion, being open and honest, and listing what you typically send in a seed pack on your exchange page is important. Additionally, those huge seeds like pawpaw trees, acorns, and buckeyes ... 6 seeds fills a lot of room and should be plenty!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:50PM
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I package my own seeds and try to mimick what commercial seed packs have.

I actually count the "uncountable" and weigh them with a small scale, so I know the weight of approximately 100 or 200 of the small or 25-50 of medium. Large ones you can count easily enough. I don't expect everyone to do this, but I think it makes the expectations clear enough. I am also not extremely worried about cleaning every bit of dust from the seeds. I just weigh out more and make sure they aren't cheated.

Then I just label how many seeds (or approximately). I also write the date of seed harvest on the packet and I place a piece of activated carbon in the small plastic ziploc to make sure that the moisture is absorbed (it is a piece from a bottle of fish tank filter medium). For example, my packs of Columbine seeds are labeled as "over 500" and they come out to about 1 gram of seed.

I think that people expect a reasonable amount of viable seed. If someone is trading seed that is older,I would expect them to include more. Basically, I treat others the way I would want to be treated.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:19PM
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xiangirl zone 4/5 Nebraska(5)

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Talk about what you expect and what you want. Tell others what you are sending them.
2. Label. (Also communication.) List name of seed, year harvested, # of seeds or weight. The more information you can provide the more informed you look. You don't look like some fly-by-night ding dong that throws seeds in a baggie and floats them through the mail.
3. Send with protection. Use bubble wrap or bubble envelopes. There are FAQs on this so read it there. Don't send green bean seeds unprotected through USPS. All the person will receive is green bean dust when it goes through the sort machine. You've saved 35 cents, but you've made an enemy.
4. Use Rate and Review. It works well for Ebay and works well here, too. Find the person on Rate and Review and see what people are saying. If the posts are negative, politely decline any trades.
5. Package well. If you use plastic baggies make sure they are labeled and the seeds are dry. I have received moldy seeds. If you use things like recycled tea bags make sure the person can read it clearly when you label it. I've had too many seeds I couldn't read the label. Be careful what shortcuts you use. WBHV stumped me for w years. White bleeding heart vine. Write it out.
6. I thougth people were crazy for keeping a list of trades. It's the smartest thing I ever did. Now I can look back and see if I traded with them before, how the trade went, and what we traded. I thought I could remember...and maybe you can...but I can't. It takes a little time, but saves me frustration, postage and a lot of heartache.
7. Most of us think of our seeds as our babies. It's like finding a home for kittens. We want each home to appreciate and care for our seeds. We want the person to be happy. There's always a few 'ringers' in every circle and there are some here, too. Most are very generous, loving and caring. They want you to be happy and they want to be happy.
Heidi in Nebraska
Oh, and I created paper envelopes for seed saving. They are on pinterest. They are free. Just print as many as you want. I like paper because it allows the seeds to dry and not mold.
Look up Seed Envelopes. There are about 8 envelopes per page.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:04PM
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