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The popularity of pelleted seeds
continues to grow among market farmers and serious gardeners. Pelleting
is a process in which small or irregularly shaped seeds are coated with
an inert material to make them round and uniform. The benefits of
pelleting are numerous:
Pelleted seeds can be planted with a mechanical seeder. The uniformity
of shape and additional weight of the pellet make it possible to plant
even tiny seeds directly to the field using a seeder.
Pelleted seeds can be spaced regularly, either with a seeder or by hand.
Even spacing prevents the need for thinning later on. The development
of pelleted seeds is often attributed to California outlawing the use of
short-handled hoes on vegetable farms, which were widely used to thin
and weed but caused worker injuries. When plants are evenly spaced,
workers can use long-handled hoes.
With root and bulb crops such as onions, carrots and parsnips, even
spacing results in straighter, more uniform roots because each plant has
the same amount of soil in which to grow. The occurrence of small or
deformed roots is much less common from pelleted seeds.
Pelleted seeds are often used for growing plugs. The pellets allow for
easy use of a hand-held seeder and precise placement of one seed per
Some seeds, particularly lettuce, are primed before pelleting, which
begins the metabolic process leading to germination. Because some of the
early steps toward germination are completed before the seed is
planted, germination happens more quickly.
Germination times can be 50% faster with primed seed. When seeds
germinate quickly, they may avoid potential problems including soil
crusting, weeds, and soilborne diseases. On the down side, primed seed
doesn’t have the same storage life as unprimed seeds, so we recommend
that you purchase only enough for the current season.Visit Johnny's Selected Seeds for more free
information about growing produce, herbs, cover crops and flowers.
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from JSS Advantage January 2012