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pelleted seeds?



 
 
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  #1  
Old 07-01-2007, 03:33 AM posted to rec.gardens.edible
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Default pelleted seeds?

What is a pelleted seed? I saw this on Johnny's Selected Seeds

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  #3  
Old 07-01-2007, 02:13 PM posted to rec.gardens.edible
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Default pelleted seeds?

A seed that that has been coated with a glob of material. The major
advantage is that it allow proper spacing of very small seeds,
especially when using mechanical plenters. Small seed like carrot are
difficult to plant.
higgledy wrote:
What is a pelleted seed? I saw this on Johnny's Selected Seeds


  #4  
Old 07-01-2007, 02:51 PM posted to rec.gardens.edible
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Default pelleted seeds?

Salmon Egg wrote:

On 1/6/07 "higgledy" wrote:

What is a pelleted seed? I saw this on Johnny's Selected Seeds


I think that it is a method for greatly increasing the cost of a seed beyond
what the market would ordinarily bear. Supposedly the pellet contains
fertilizer and other goodies to help the seed start out well. In practice, I
have not gotten better germination rate.


I think the main advantage cited for pelleted seed is handling. If the
seeds are small, it's much easier to plant them if they are pelleted.

In the old days, you could get maybe a gram of tomato seed in a packet. Now
many seed packets contain about 100mg. Even that was too many seeds. By
pelletizing, you are down to 20 seeds per packet.


Which in many cases is still too many. I need 20 tomato plants of a
given variety . . . why?

The idea of pelletizing may be innovative, but my guess is the main benefit
is a fatter bottom line for the seed companies that push it.


So don't buy pelleted seeds.

Free markets are an amazing thing. If pelleted seeds were "too
expensive", people wouldn't buy them, and they would cease to be
available. I happen to like pelleted seeds in some cases, so I buy
them. To me the extra cost is worth it.

Another reason for pelleted seeds is that if you're using mechanical
equipment it may require pelleted seeds. If you're a farmer who needs
to plant a few acres of alfalfa, you don't have the luxury of "saving
money" by buying non-pelleted seed because your planter won't work with
them.
  #6  
Old 08-01-2007, 12:15 AM
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Default

Hi there -

Pelleting a seed has nothing to do with trying to increase costs. It has everything to do with standardizing the size of the seed for increased efficiency in planting and handling within seeders. The coating also absorbs and splits open more consistently as moisture is applied, so seedlings emerge more uniformly, producing overall better germination results. The process of pelleting seed, i.e. the materials and the labor required to coat the seed does add some small incremental variable cost to the seed, but it is not done for the sake of increasing costs beyond what the market can bear. The seed is not significantly more expensive compared to is "natural" seed counterpart. In fact, a packet of unpelleted Cherokee Lettuce is $4.95 and its pelleted counterpart is $4.60 a packet, which is obviously not more expensive. This is true for other varieties as well. Now, when the number of seeds increases, the cost does increase a bit (and the cost depends on the individual variety and its cost structure), but for purely economic reasons stated above. If the market couldn't bear the cost of the seed, Johnny's wouldn't be selling it. Johnny's would go out of business and it would make no economical or common sense.

I quote from page 49 of Johnny's 2007 catalog:

"Pelleting improves the shape, size, and uniformity of raw (natural) lettuce seeds [also carrot and some flower seeds] for more accurate sowing by hand and machine. The pellets are made of inert materials and clay, which won't harm the seeds or the soil. As the pellets absorb moisture, they split open, allowing immediate access to oxygen for fast, uniform seedling emergence."

Pelleting does not guarantee or infer that you'll get better germination rates, only that germination will be more uniform and consistent. You should also be aware that the pelleting process decreases the shelf-life of the seed. The seed is perfectly fine for a planting season, but should not be saved or used for second and third seasons because germination rates will not be as good (unlike Johnny's "natural" seed which has excellent germinations rates for 2-3 years from purchase, and in some varieties longer). When purchasing pelleted seed, Johnny's recommends that you try to purchase only that which you'll need to produce the harvest you expect.

I hope this answers your questions. If you have any other terminology questions, feel free to call Johnny's toll-free at 1-877-564-6697 and speak with any of our customer service representatives. Unlike other companies, you'll always get a human voice on the phone and all our reps are well versed in gardening and growing.

Kind regards,
Alisa Keimel
Marketing & PR Manager
Johnny's Selected Seeds
  #7  
Old 08-01-2007, 12:59 PM posted to rec.gardens.edible
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Posts: 5
Default pelleted seeds?

I'm really surprised by the snarky comments about seed companies. Are
they referring to companies that sell seeds? In all the years I've
been growing, I've never thought of them as the Evil Empire. Cable
companies, health insurance - yes. But seed companies seem to be more
a labor of love than a big money-maker. And if the smaller folks go
out of business, there will be little variety in what we can plant.

Maybe the person from Johnny's can tell us if there is a monopoly among
seed-producing companies. I've always thought there were a number of
them, but perhaps not.

Charlotte

  #8  
Old 08-01-2007, 04:35 PM posted to rec.gardens.edible
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Posts: 9
Default pelleted seeds?

I appreciate and agree with your comments, and thanks for providing the
information. I do, however, have a small question:

Alisa Keimel wrote:

The seed is not significantly
more expensive compared to is "natural" seed counterpart. In fact, a
packet of unpelleted Cherokee Lettuce is $4.95 and its pelleted
counterpart is $4.60 a packet, which is obviously not more expensive.


How many seeds are in the packet in each case?

Frankly I would much rather work with pelleted lettuce seed than the raw
seed, and I suspect that there are plenty of seed in a packet to take
care of my needs. But comparing prices based on "a packet" really isn't
fair.
 




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