How do you sow tiny seeds? Mix with sand, sugar, other

molly_and_me(9)March 2, 2010

Some of you do a good job of sowing seeds by putting little pinches in containers but I am heavy handed. I get carried away and since I canÂt see the seeds I never feel comfortable that I have sown enough.

Ultimately it is the number of survivors that count and not the number of sprouts that you start with. Some of mine are so crowded I think they will selectively die out.

Are there inherent problems with using sugar or sand? Are there other methods that work better?

What about seeds so small they look like dust?

Thank you for the help.

Margaret

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shinyalloy_5(5b IN)

I usually just grab a pinch and sprinkle but if the seeds are more valuable to me I put them in a clear glass dish (seeds seem to stick to plastic)and separate the seeds into groups, usually of four I've tried using my finger but find it easier with a pencil eraser as they don't stick. So if I have 100 seeds to start I roughly estimate that each little pile has about 25 seeds. Then I can use one of the piles for a pinch instead of the whole packet I think mixing with sand would be safer than salt. I'm not sure how much salt it takes to harm plant life, pinches or truck loads. I'm sure someone else will know the answer to that.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 8:00AM
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donn_(7b-8a)

Ron came up with the best technique so far.

Sprinkle some of the seeds over the surface of a small container of water.

Suck up a couple at a time with an old-fashioned medicine dropper, and deposit them, with the water, exactly where you want them.

Works a treat!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:33AM
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liza070831(z4VT)

I sometimes use corn meal to separate small seeds. It is easy to see the black seeds and when you scatter the mix over the soil, you can see where it lands.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:34AM
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Monte(6-NE NJ)

You could rig up one of these.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sonic Seed Sower

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:53PM
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aliska12000(Z5)

The water idea sounds interesting. I do what seems best at the time and the type of seeds.

For best coverage, fast and efficient, I use a little sugar and seeds in a salt shaker (some seeds too large but those easier to pinch and sprinkle). I shake and sprinkle, starting one way and then working from another angle. Shake circularly every so often to keep seeds mixed optimally. They don't look like they mix too evenly otherwise. If I don't use enough sugar, the seeds are gone too fast affecting coverage. Just guesstimate with maybe about one teaspoon sugar or a wee bit more depending on how large the area I'm trying to cover and number of packets of seeds.

Sowed my lobelia porch boxes (use two packets for those) and many other things that way. Haven't noticed that the sugar causes any problems and can help me see where I've been until it dissolves. It's organic. Haven't tried corn meal and see no real need to but no particular reason it wouldn't work as well or better.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:55PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Lisa, doesn't corn meal come in white and yellow? Which do you use?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:50AM
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gardenweed_z6a

For things like butterfly bush, lady's mantle, coral bells and astilbe, I just harvest the dried flowers, crush them and sprinkle the whole lot over the surface of the soil. I assume the seeds are in there somewhere even though I can't see them individually. It worked last year--I got seedlings & plants from all those I listed. I sprinkle bird grit lightly over the surface to help them make contact with the growing medium but that's just for my own peace of mind--I doubt they need it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:34PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I usually just pick up a pinch between thumb and index finger and sprinkle. But if I have expensive seeds, like little pelleted ones, I might take the time to use seed spoons. They work great and with perfect precision. The set includes spoons with 4 different size bowls, or scoops, for different size seeds. You can place each seed exactly where you want it.

Karen

Here is a link that might be useful: seed spoons

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 6:36AM
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ladyrose65

The seed spoon is cute!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:41PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Karen, did you start these plants indoors "under lights?" What type of seed starting kit do you have those in? I can see the plastic dome under them..how do you water them? Bottom water?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 6:24AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Yes, pippi, those are impatiens started under lights, sown with my seed spoons.

That's the first time I've tried that kind of tray. They're Called Rootrainers. Each row of cells opens like a book.

I wouldn't use these for wintersowing. Even though they're deep, the small cells could dry out quickly. And yes, I bottom water them. So far, so good.

Karen

Here is a link that might be useful: Haxnick's Rootrainers

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:03AM
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