How We Manage Very Small Garden Seeds

Let’s talk tiny seeds, especially now that its petunia sowing season! Some of the seeds we work with, particularly when it comes to flowers, the seeds can be incredibly small. They can definitely push your patience, so we’re going to share how we manage them.

The biggest key to small seeds is patience. They often misbehave, sticking to the insides of the seed packet and just generally refuse to be manipulated. Often, we’ll simply try to coax one or a few to where we can sow them and just keep working them until we sow what we want. Working in small amounts can often be most helpful since our fingers just aren’t dexterous enough to work with such small things.

Trying to ensure one seed per sow is also sometimes painful. Chances are good that you’ll end up sowing more than you like with these tiny seeds and it’s something you just have to deal with. Fortunately, a lot of the very small seeds are sowed in clusters such as mint and lobelia, so it’s really no big deal. But, if you accidentally get a bunch coming up when you don’t intend to, it’s easy enough to snip of any extra, undesired seedlings with a pair of fine tipped garden snips.

If you get really frustrated, you can put a few seeds onto a piece of paper or other flat, clean surface. Then, using a toothpick or other fine tipped tool, you can manipulate the seeds. You can often get the seed to stick to your fingertip, where you can then sow them in the desired location.

As with most things, practice makes perfect. We know these small seeds can be infuriating at first, but you can definitely develop the “touch” for them. It’s not going to happen the first time you work with them, but when you encounter enough tiny seeds, its inevitable that you’ll develop more skill with them.

One of the good “memory tricks” we use is that super tiny seeds are often surface sowed. This means we don’t cover them with any substantial soil after sowing them. So, if you see a super tiny seed, always check the seed packet as there’s a good chance it’ll be surface sowed.

If you can, try to find “pelletized” versions of those small seeds. If you didn’t know, this is why pelletized seeds are a “thing” as it tends to make those tiny seeds a bit more manageable. Not every variety is going to have that as an option, though, so you’re often best off developing those skills!

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