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I have a bunch of new packets of seeds, and some of them are extremely tiny. I plan on planting them in 6-cell trays. What is the best way to go about sowing seeds when they are so tiny, it's next to impossible to handle one at a time?

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    Don't waste time sowing them into 6 packs. The germination won't be 100% so you'll either need to resow some cells or thin out some others. It'd be easier to sow a half tray and prick them out into six packs when the true leaves appear. It might seems like more effort this way, but you produce higher quality plants as the seedling can be buried to reduce legginess. – Nic Jul 25 '17 at 21:11
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I don't have experience with these hand seeders as I just found them after I planted my garden this year, but thought I'd pass it on.

There is this one from Park Seeds and one similar to it onAmazon on Amazon (but with only one 3-star review on the latter it's hard to know if it's a better option).

  • It's actually so funny that you recommended this tool!! I've had my eye on them for a few days, and I've been contemplating getting one, but didn't see many good reviews about them. Thanks so much! I'm going to order now. – Ace42292 Jul 25 '17 at 19:31
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You can mix them with sand and sow them together. If you don't want to use sand, just put the seeds on a white sheet of paper and use it to disperse them by sliding 3-4 seeds off the sheet before moving the paper to cover the entire tray.

  • I never thought of this, I'll try it! Thanks! – Ace42292 Jul 25 '17 at 19:33
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I've never heard of the tool @Bob found, but I always buy all my seeds and growing supplies at Park Seed, so it's probably great. If you have time before planting, you might want to order one. I probably will next year.

One of the reasons why there are so many seeds in that package is that you're not expected to be able to plant them all separately. Many get either lost or broken in the process. I also usually drop at least a few in each planting cell anyway. If more than one germinates, you can always separate them later. If nothing germinates, you've gone through some hard work to no avail!

Whatever method you choose, it helps to do the process under a good light. It gives you the best chance of working with the seeds, and also watching where they fall.

Try this:

  • Fold a piece of paper to make a good crease.
  • Pour your seeds into the crease.
  • Spread them apart as much as you can with a small knife, being careful not to squish all of them.
  • Hold the paper horizontally over your seed pod, very close to it, but not touching it.
  • With the tip of the knife, gently slide the seeds off the paper.
  • Check the knife to make sure the seeds haven't gotten stuck. If they have, you can try shaking them off, or just throw those out.
  • Try not to touch the soil with the knife. Firstly, the knife picks up some dark bits of soil which blend in with the seeds, so you can't tell which is which. Also, if the seeds get wet from the soil, they stick on the knife, and it's nearly impossible to get them off without damaging them.

This picture is from last year. As you can see, I have three different types of seeds. I usually don't do that, but I was in a hurry, and that way I could plant in more than one cell without having to do the process with each flower type individually. The tiny tiny things that look like black dust, the medium tiny things that look like bigger black dust, and the tiny bit bigger brown seeds that look brown dust are each different plants. Actually, the brown ones have some texture to them, and are less fragile. The brown ones also show up better on the planting cell, making it easier to see where they fall.

enter image description here

  • I'm going to try this today!! Thanks for the tip!!! – Ace42292 Jul 25 '17 at 19:34
  • My pleasure! I hope this works for you, and you have good germinating and growing success! I've never heard of that plant, but it looks really pretty! – Sue Jul 25 '17 at 20:22
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    I second the folded piece of paper. I once had to sow Arabidopsis thaliana singly in pots for a trial. You can barely see these seeds with the naked eye, so this method should be a breeze for Silene – Nic Jul 25 '17 at 21:13
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Tiny seeds aren't that tough to handle. And when you start buying SEED...these are from Park aren't they? You get to start counting the money with each one. I try never to pop two seeds into one start pot. Yes they are tiny, but heck, use a tweezers. One seed to a tiny 1/1/2" start pot where you've firmed the soil before planting seed. Seed this small only need a slight dusting of soil over them. Keep moist using a simple sprayer of water. Don't fertilize until you've got the third set of leaves and need to up pot. Potting soil only.

I've had to handle tiny tiny seed this year that cost 50 cents per seed. Amazing. And those seeds are for vegetables, NON GMO with an 85% germination rate, which is very very high. Wet your finger tip, get a single seed and tap into the starting pot with firmed potting soil. Easy peasy. Are you planting starts in tiny pots or are you also planting this seed in the garden?

  • Hi stormy! I've used tweezers too, but have broken seeds by accident, especially the small ones. Sometimes I drop seeds onto one of the open ends of the tweezers, similar to my paper method, and gently push them off, which does work for me. Also, I've had trouble planting with wet hands. The seeds tend to stick to my finger, and even if I shake them off, it's hard for me to control where they land. Am I misunderstanding something in this answer, or just clumsy when it comes to handling tiny seeds? – Sue Jul 25 '17 at 16:59
  • I've actually been getting all of my seeds from local sellers (US based,~250 miles around Northeast Ohio) on eBay. Since I'm so new at this, and I'm a stay-at-home mom, I don't really have the resources to spend so much for something I might suck at. I've had good luck so far, even with the tiniest seeds, I was just wondering if there was a less-tedious way to sow tons of tiny seeds evenly. I plan on keeping everything I plant in pots, as I plan to move in the next couple of years. And, my problem is exactly how Sue described it! I have bigger fingers so handling tiny seeds isn't easy for me. – Ace42292 Jul 25 '17 at 19:26
  • oh how funny! If you are growing in pots please look up growing plants in pots. Don't plant seed in the big pots. Use those tiny 1 1/2" to 2" pots with potting soil. When your plant's roots start peeking out of the bottom then up pot to a 4" pot with potting soil. At this time you'll want to add a bit of balanced fertilizer. Use a spray bottle to keep the seed and surface soil moist. When you can see roots again through the bottom then up pot to a gallon pot or 6" diameter with potting soil. Depending on what plants you grow, you might need to do it once more. Are these pots outside? – stormy Jul 25 '17 at 22:05
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Jeb Gardener (a popular dirt+hydroponic Gardener on YouTube) uses a wet bamboo skewer. I suppose that any wet, wooden skewer would work. Simply get the skewer against the seed and scrape the seed into the tray.

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