Spreading Seeds


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Since I've done very little gardening in my life I get confused easily. With lettuce for example some sprinkle seed freely down a row. But then I see pictures of lettuce 6" to 12" apart. Wont sprinkling seeds cluster lettuce together tightly? I'm going to raise romaine, Bibb and Kale, Bok Choy.
 
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That is what is called thinning....too many sprouts.. thin....I can't do that so I make soil blocks and put one seedmin each. Seeds that don't geminate? The soil gets reused. Nobody dies by my hand unless needed!
 
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My feeling is - seed is cheap relative to other things. I always seed heavy and then go back and thin later. If you sow 1 seed every 6 or 8 inches and get 60% germination, you have wasted a lot of precious growing time and space. I also have noticed that the percentage of germination diminishes after the first year so why not use them up?
 
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Oh pooh, forgot which forum I was on. . We greenhouse/ suburban growers tend to think on a small scale. I'll butt out. :oops:
 
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Small seeds do tend to clump up, and thinning can be difficult. If you take a tablespoon or so of sand, mix it with small seeds and then scatter the seeds, you get more spacing and less thinning. I mix carrot and radish seed and scatter. Later when I pull the radishes, which grow faster than the carrots, I have less thinning to do with the carrots since the radishes did most of the work for me.
For the seeds we start indoors and transplant out later, I put two seeds per cell, and if both germinate, either remove the weaker or transplant to a cell where nothing germinated. CanadianLori is good at making soil blocks. I use six or nine cell plastic containers since I lack her expertise.
 
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For very tiny seeds like lettuce I mix the seeds with sand and then put the sand into a fairly large salt shaker. When sprinkled out on the soil you can see the sand and the seeds are, more or less, evenly spaced. By doing it this way very little if any thinning is necessary. For lettuce seeds remember that they shouldn't be covered with soil. Trust me. Just pat down the seeds to make good soil contact. Kale and Bok Choy should be planted about 1/4" deep.
 
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You can sometimes get "pelleted" seed. Basically, the seeds are coated in clay to make them larger and therefore easier to handle and sow. I haven't used them yet myself but I plan to get pelleted seed for carrots and probably lettuce.
 
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Thinning is a pain.

I use several methods.
One: Wrap each seed in a piece of tissue sort of a pelleted seed. Commercial pelleted seed is miserable to work with.

Two: I use a single hole container like a salt shaker, an crawl on hands and knees and sprinkle.
This take some care. Dollar store has the container.

Three: Make a row and put the seeds in a bowl and plant one at a time.

I also use the board method for the small seeds.
http://durgan.org/2017/April 2017/25 April 2017 Planting Carrots Board Method/HTML/25 April 2017 Planting Carrots Board Method
Carrot seed to obtain good germination and spacing some steps can be taken. Encapsulate the seeds to make them larger and easier to handle, and use the board method to improve germination. Adequate seed spacing at planting means no thinning of very small plants is required. Covering the seeds with a board prevents the seeds from drying out due to hot sun and moderates the soil temperature (Carrots will not germinate above 80F), and from getting moved by heavy rainfall until the plant is established. The board covering is raised with cross pieces so the emerging plant has some vertical growing space before being removed. The board is removed immediately upon the plants emerging. The board method improves germination for most seeds.

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Thinning is a pain.

I use several methods.
One: Wrap each seed in a piece of tissue sort of a pelleted seed. Commercial pelleted seed is miserable to work with.

Could you please elaborate on why it's a pain to work with pelleted seed? I'm going to be using some for the first time and I'd like to know what to expect.
 
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Could you please elaborate on why it's a pain to work with pelleted seed? I'm going to be using some for the first time and I'd like to know what to expect.

The tissue paper used for the seeds is necessarily very weak. It tears as one is laying the strip when planting and twists and turns if there is even the slightest breeze. The spacing is often incorrect. I tried them a few times now I pass.

A better way is to dampen a small piece of kleenex to encase the seed to make larger. If you have more than a few hundred then it is necessary to broadcast the seed. I usually take a lot of care planting, since thinning can become onerous.
 
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There are two types the single pelleted and the strip paper. The pelleted seeds are usually acceptable, but the tissue strip is usually a disaster to work with.
 

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