Pelleted Seeds: Why and How to Use Them
As you’re selecting garden seeds to sow indoors or out, you may notice that some packets are marked “pelleted seed.” What does this mean and what are the implications for gardener and garden?
Pelleted lettuce seed is to the left; “naked” lettuce seed is on the right. The pelleted seed is easier to handle.
Pelleted seeds were developed for commercial growers who use machines to sow seeds. Pelleted seeds are simply normal plant seeds that have been coated to give them a round, smooth, uniform shape and size, making it less likely for them to jam a mechanical seeder, and increasing the accuracy of the seeder in terms of spacing.
Pelleted seeds are also helpful to the home gardener because they are easy to see and handle, especially when compared with the “naked” version of tiny seeds like tomatoes and lettuce.
There are only two precautions to take when using pelleted seeds. First, be sure that the growing medium remains consistently moist, but not soggy, after you’ve sown the seed and you’re waiting for it to sprout. Secondly, use all of your pelleted seed in the season that you purchase it, or dispose of any that’s leftover. Pelleting shortens the lifespan of the seed, so pelleted seeds shouldn’t be relied upon to sprout the next year.
A gardener’s guide to pelleted seed: what is it, what are its advantages, and are there any special steps to take when sowing pelleted seed? Find out here.
Small seeds like carrots, onions and lettuce are sometimes “pelleted.” Each seed is coated with a layer of clay to increase its size for easier handling. This makes spacing the seeds much easier and enables growers to use set spacing on their seeding machines. It also increases evenness in germination. The few varieties of seeds we offer as pelleted are prepared with organic materials, and contain no seed treatment or chemicals.
In a few cases we offer “multi-seed pelleted” products. These pellets contain more than one seed each.
NOTE: Extra care must be taken with all pelleted seeds. Be sure to keep the seed bed EXTRA moist until germination. If the seed bed is allowed to dry out, the clay pelleting material may leach moisture from the seed, resulting in poor germination.
Small seeds like carrots, onions and lettuce are sometimes “pelleted.” Each seed is coated with a layer of clay to increase its size for easier handling. This makes spacing the seeds much easier and enables growers to use set spacing on their seeding machines. It also increases evenness in germination. The few varietie