Have you tried sowing lettuce seeds in a 100 cell propagation tray with exactly one seed per cell? if you did, you will know what I am talking about.

It takes a lot of time to just sow one seed per cell, it is almost like meditation. Now scale it up to hundreds of such trays.  There will lot of errors. Some cells will have more than one and some, none!

With higher seed costs, it is not viable to put multiple seeds per cell and remove them to allow only a single plant.  

Whats the solution? 

Enter pelleted seeds

So, what are pelleted seeds?

Pelleted seeds are those that are coated with an inert material that gives a uniform spherical (nearly) shape to the seeds that are otherwise irregularly shaped. 

Seeds are put through a process called pelleting where a inert material is coated over the seeds. The benefits of using pelleted seeds are several.

Benefits of pelleted seeds

  1. Pelleted seeds can be easily handled and sown either manually or through a seeder.
  2. Pelleted seeds makes it easier to spread the seeds evenly. that are very tiny otherwise. This reduces the need for thinning. 
  3. When starting seeds in seed starting plugs or foam sheets, pelleted seeds make it easier to place just one seed per plug or foam.
  4. Because seeds or different sizes can be made into a pellet of a standard size, seeding machines need not be changed /altered to sow seeds of varying sizes. E.g Petunia seeds are tinier than lettuce but the pelleted version can be similar.
  5. I have observed that the pelleting material used on the seeds absorbs water quickly ensuring the uniform moisture around the seeds. This ensures higher rate of germination. 

Let me give you some pictorial example to show how easy it is to  handle pelleted seeds.

Non pelleted seeds – about 100 of them
Pelleted seeds of lettuce
Pelleted seeds – about 40 of them 

Did you see what I am talking about?

Once you start using pelleted seeds, you will not go back to the original seeds. This is only for the small seeded varieties. For plants with bigger seeds, please continue to use them as they are. 

Increase the germination rate with pelleted seeds

Pelleted seeds have consistently performed better in terms of germination rate. There were times where I had gotten 100% germination in lettuce. 

The picture below is a proof of how good germination can be. The seeds are sown in foam medium.

Pelleted seeds of lettuce
Pelleted seeds sown in foam medium

That’s all for now.

There is going to be a video version of this post in my youtube channel with more detailed explanation later this week. Subscribe to get notified. 

Happy gardening

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