Pelleted Seeds

jane4667(5)December 25, 2008

This year, I am going to try planting lettuce and carrots from seeds. I live in the northeast, and I just received the Harris Seeds catalogue. They sell pelleted seeds for carrots and lettuce. I was going to try the Nantindo carrots and the Harris' Lettuce Blend. Has anyone here ever used pelleted seeds? Would you advise for it or against it?

Thanks, Jeff

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Good morning Jeff.

I have used pelleted seed on occasion. But those occasions where when I was planting a very fine - dust-like seed that runs high on the price scale. Like a specific petunia where you get 8 pelleted seeds for $5. When you are paying like that for a small amount of seed, you don't want to try to find a few dust-like seeds in the packet, then target the planting location. But common lobelia has smaller seed yet, and when you buy that they just give you a teaspoon, call it 1,000 and charge you a buck.

Personally, I don't think there is any need to pellet either lettuce or carrot. The seed is quite large enough to handle and most packets of lettuce or carrot seed that you buy have hundreds of seeds, plenty for a home gardener.

I haven't grown carrots in years, but do lettuce every year. I start some indoors to plant out early in the season in covered containers because, after germination, they like the cold weather. From then on out, I sprinkle a few seeds down every week or so. Depending on the variety, some of it grows quite fast. Between leaf and head varieties you can pick from April through Thanksgiving - or later depending on how much protection you give it and the weather.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 12:25PM
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Agree with kay. Pelleted seeds are great when you are using powered planters. but, when you are a home gardener hand seeding, the advantage is insuffient to offset the cost. One planting acres would always want pelleted seed, because one can get the spacing needed without hand thining.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 5:23PM
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Nope, I'm only goin' along with Kay and Farmerdilla except on the idea that pelleted seed is probably not needed for lettuce.

I live in an arid part of the West. And, my garden soil couldn't be much more porous. Moisture disappears from the surface inch or 2 in a matter of a few hours. A seed that takes a relatively long time to germinate - like carrot seed - hasn't much of a chance.

Yes, I could place burlap or boards over the surface of the seed bed and give the carrots an easier go at germinating. Of course, I'd need to remember to check under those boards and burlap in time to get them off the seedlings or they'd smother the tiny plants.

Nope, pelleted carrot seed saves the day for me! Recently, I found that making a gel with cornstarch works too. But, for ease of germination AND better spacing of carrot seedlings - nothing works for me as well as pelleted seed. If you have a garden where the surface soil dries out quickly, I say go for it Jeff!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 11:59AM
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Well, learn something new every day....and today I learned 2 things. So glad I rechecked this thread!

Farmerdilla, I had no idea that pelleted seed was used in farming like that. One of those things that I did not know that there was something to know.

And Steve, a board over the seed planting of carrots! It makes perfect sense. I will try it this year. I had given up on carrots because I did not have the patience for those dang seeds.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 1:44PM
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I have never tried pelleted seed (cost) but this year did try tapes. The local off price outlet had Burpee seed tapes for radish and carrots. Radish aren't bad but carrot seed are tiny so I thought, what a deal, 20 foot of seed tape for the price of a seed pack. Well not a single carrot came up and the radishes were healthy looking but small rooted and pithy. Could be my soil, new home but old garden. But this year I'm back to plain seed. Do what works.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 12:00PM
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This year I'm going to try the gel method that Steve (digit) mentioned, as my carrot germination rate was not great last year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fluid Seeding (RMG Forum)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 11:59PM
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pelleted seeds are already wet and in the process of germinating. They will only keep good for a very short time. They are for a farmer who has machinery to plant the seeds in the field. He will plant all the seeds at the same time.

Pelleted seeds are NO GOOD for the home gardener. We only plant a few and the rest go bad. Best to use regular seeds and keep the for up to 10 years or more if kept correctly. Pelleted seeds will go bad quickly because they are alread germinating.

obviously if you are paying a dollar a seed for pellet dust seeds then you plant ALL the seeds right away and it is good. But with veggie seeds we like to keep them good for several years.

Get a nice low cost pair of tweezers and you can plant each seed one at a time very easily in a seed tray. 72 per tray. seeds will last forever when you get hundreds in a pack and maybe plant a dozen per year.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 4:38PM
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Dear Jeff,

I am the vegetable seed manager here at Harris Seeds. Although pelleted seed was originally developed for the larger commercial grower, many of our home garden customers use pelleted seed for planting in their own gardens and swear by it. The carrot seed is built up about 4-5 times larger than the raw seed and the lettuce seed is built up about 15 times larger than raw seed. The larger size and the white coating on the seed make it much easier to handle, see it in the soil and space it in the garden. Spacing the seed more evenly allows for less thinning after germination.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 9:53AM
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> Pelleted seeds will go bad quickly because they are
> already germinating.

Really? I don't think this is true, but I'm no expert in the area. I think the problem may be that didn't keep your pelleted seeds dry. I keep my seeds in a shoe-box wrapped in a plastic bag, with a silica desiccant inside. I would think that pelleted seeds would last just as long as bare seeds if kept just as dry.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 10:54AM
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