pelleted seeds?

What is a pelleted seed? I saw this on Johnny's Selected Seeds
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On 1/6/07 6:33 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@42g2000cwt.googlegroups.com, "higgledy"

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.
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.
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.
Bill -- Fermez le Bush
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Salmon Egg wrote:

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.

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

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.
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On 1/7/07 5:51 AM, in article 7J-dnX8pUr1aZz3YnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@deskmedia.com, "Steve Bonine"

That is my intention. It is just difficult to find them. When I do, I get them in preference to the pelleted ones. For example, hybrid Celebrity tomato seeds are usually pelleted.
Bill -- Fermez le Bush
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Hi there -
Pelleting a seed has nothing to do with trying to increase costs. I has everything to do with standardizing the size of the seed fo increased efficiency in planting and handling within seeders. Th coating also absorbs and splits open more consistently as moisture i applied, so seedlings emerge more uniformly, producing overall bette germination results. The process of pelleting seed, i.e. the material and the labor required to coat the seed does add some small incrementa variable cost to the seed, but it is not done for the sake of increasin costs beyond what the market can bear. The seed is not significantl more expensive compared to is "natural" seed counterpart. In fact, packet of unpelleted Cherokee Lettuce is $4.95 and its pellete 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 seed increases, the cost does increase a bit (and the cost depends on th individual variety and its cost structure), but for purely economi 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 an 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 accurat sowing by hand and machine. The pellets are made of inert materials an clay, which won't harm the seeds or the soil. As the pellets absor moisture, they split open, allowing immediate access to oxygen fo fast, uniform seedling emergence."
Pelleting does not guarantee or infer that you'll get bette germination rates, only that germination will be more uniform an consistent. You should also be aware that the pelleting proces decreases the shelf-life of the seed. The seed is perfectly fine for planting season, but should not be saved or used for second and thir seasons because germination rates will not be as good (unlike Johnny' "natural" seed which has excellent germinations rates for 2-3 year from purchase, and in some varieties longer). When purchasing pellete seed, Johnny's recommends that you try to purchase only that whic you'll need to produce the harvest you expect.
I hope this answers your questions. If you have any other terminolog questions, feel free to call Johnny's toll-free at 1-877-564-6697 an speak with any of our customer service representatives. Unlike othe companies, you'll always get a human voice on the phone and all ou reps are well versed in gardening and growing.
Kind regards, Alisa Keimel Marketing & PR Manager Johnny's Selected Seed
-- Alisa Keimel
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I appreciate and agree with your comments, and thanks for providing the information. I do, however, have a small question:
Alisa Keimel wrote:

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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Pelleted petunia seed, too. The other stuff is like dust.
Charlotte
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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:

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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
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