The next three weeks are the busiest weeks all year when it comes to seeding. We have over 1000 plug trays to seed totaling over 325,000 plants that will all eventually be transplanted by hand!
When seeding, we use a vacuum seeder that sucks the seeds into tiny holes on a metal plate. These metal plates have the exact spacing and number of holes needed to fit our plug trays. When the tray flips, it releases the suction and drops the seeds into the plug tray.
While we still buy a lot of seed in raw form, most of our seeds
come slightly altered to make it easier for us to seed.
- Some seed comes primed, which jump starts the germination process by allowing the seed to soak up the water it needs to germinate, but then stops the process prior to the seedling root emerging from the seed coat.
- Seeds that are very tiny such as, snapdragons, begonias, and coleus undergo a process called pelleting where they coat the seed with a water-soluble substance to make the seed larger and easier for our seeder to use.
- Other seeds, like alyssum, are multi pelleted, meaning they will mix approximately six seeds together to make one large one. This makes it easier when more than one plant per plug is desired as then we only have to seed the tray one time instead of multiple.
- Seeds such as tomatoes are coated to help prevent the seeds from sticking to each other, which can cause a lot of headaches.
- Marigold seeds come de-tailed where they cut off the rough end of the seed, which the seed doesn’t need to grow, to make it easier to run through the machine.
After the seeds are seeded in a plug tray, they may receive a light coating of vermiculite if needed which helps with moisture retention. Then they run through the water tunnel to get just the right amount of water prior to being placed in our seed chambers until they germinate.