What Are The The Advantages Of Natural Seed Versus Pelleted Seed? Does It Make Any Difference To Germination, Growth Or Cost? My Answers Are Here.
As a market gardener I was always looking for the best way to grow crops. I wanted 100% germination rates, reliable growth and seed that produced crops typical of the variety. So I regularly went to seed trials, conducted my own variety trials under commercial conditions, listened to what my customers said about different varieties and also checked costs against income. This article deals with The Advantages Of Natural Seed Versus Pelleted Seed.
One thing that was always worth considering were the advantages and disadvantages between natural seed and pelleted seed. Gardeners usually buy natural seed but seed producers also produce pelleted seeds for gardeners so we need to be aware of them and their uses.
What Is Natural Seed?
Natural seeds are seeds that have not been coated with any type of material, such as clay or fertilizer.
What is Pelleted Seed?
Pelleted seeds are seeds that have been coated with a material, such as clay or fertilizer, to make them easier to handle and plant. Typical pellet sizes are similar to the size of a sweet pea seed. This means that seed such as lettuce ar much easier to handle.
Large seeds such as peas don’t need pelleting as they re already big enough for machines to handle.
Natural Seed Advantages
There are several advantages to using natural seeds over pelleted seeds.
- Natural seeds are less expensive than the same pelleted variety .
- Natural seeds are more readily available.
- Natural seeds are more versatile. They can be planted in a variety of ways, including directly in the ground, in a seed tray, or in a hydroponic system.
- Natural seeds are more environmentally friendly. They do not require the use of any chemicals or other materials that could harm the environment.
Disadvantages Of Natural Seed
There are also some disadvantages to using natural seeds.
- Natural seeds can be more difficult to plant. They are smaller and more delicate than pelleted seeds, and they can be easily blown away by the wind.
- Some people claim that natural seeds may not germinate as well as pelleted seeds. This is because the coating on pelleted seeds helps to protect the seed from the elements and from pests. I’m, not convinced by this argument and have also experienced the opposite.
Ultimately, the best type of seed for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are on a budget, natural seeds are a great option. If you are new to gardening, pelleted seeds may be a better choice because they are easier to plant. And if you are concerned about the environment, natural seeds are the best choice.
Natural Seed Planting Advice
Here are some additional tips for using natural seeds:
- Plant natural seeds when the soil is moist and warm.
- Plant natural seeds at the correct depth. The depth of planting will vary depending on the type of seed.
- Water natural seeds as required. All seeds need moisture to germinate and grow. But they don’t need too much. Watering is one of the hardest jobs in horticulture and that’s why it is often given tot the most experienced person.
- Thin natural seeds as they grow. This will help to ensure that each plant has enough room to grow.
- Feed natural seeds as needed. Natural seeds may need to be fed with nutrients, especially if they are planted in poor soil. That doesn’t apply to No Dig where the soil is fed and supplies nutrients to seedlings and plants.
- Protect natural seeds from pests and diseases. Natural seeds are susceptible to pests and diseases, so it is important to take steps to protect them.
Why Use Pelleted Seed?
In most cases I advocate the use of natural seed. It is lower cost and there are no issues about what it has been coated with. However, they are useful if you find small seeds too difficult to handle.
In commercial growing pelleted seed is often used with soil blocking machines as they are easier for the machine to pick up Follow this link to see a video of machines sowing pelleted seeds in soil blocks. Personally I found them too expensive and would seed all my modules by hand with natural seed … that was half a million lettuce a year grown this way!
What Does The Pelleted Seed Coating Contain?
I said earlier that the pellet was made of clay or fertiliser. Clay is the most usual.
However the coating could contain a wide range of substances, many of them noxious. In these cases they will not be available to gardeners. But farmers can buy pelleted seed containing pesticides, fungal innoculum and a host of other substances that I don’t advocate.
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