Should I Use Seed Raising Pellets?

If you’re new to growing your veggies from seed, then you might not be familiar with seed raising pellets. Also called peat pellets, Jiffy seed starters & grow pellets, seed raising pellets are designed to make seed starting easier and more convenient for gardeners.

They look like small brown discs, and are made from a combination of compressed peat, wood pulp and coconut coir. The pellets expand easily once watered, and provide an ideal seed raising environment.

Standard seed raising pellets

They make starting seeds super-easy: all you need do is water your pellets until they expand, then drop a seed into each one. Keep them moist then wait for seedlings to appear. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, simply plant the whole pellet out in your garden.

Planting out seedlings grown in seed raising pellets

As the pellet is both pot and soil at the same time, they are great for beginners who aren’t confident handling tiny seeds and delicate seedlings. They have the advantage of minimising transplant shock because they won’t disturb the seedlings’ immature root system.

A tiny seedling coming to life in a seed raising pellet

Even the most experienced gardeners have trouble with certain seeds, because, well, they’re just tricky. Carrots, lettuce, several herbs & many flower seeds need light to germinate, and these really suit seed raising pellets. They benefit from the raised sides, access to light and even moisture level that a seed raising pellet provides.

Commercially purchased pack of seed raising pellets

On the downside, seed raising pellets are much more expensive to use than soil or even purpose-made seed raising mix. Expect to pay from 15 to 35 cents each, and remember that they can’t be re-used. You can make your own cheap alternative to seed raising pellets by using egg cartons. All you need do is fill the egg spaces with growing medium, then cut them apart and plant the whole thing when it’s time to plant out.

You can make your own version of seed raising pellets by using old egg cartons

The Low-Down on Seed Raising Pellets

PROS

  • Fun to watch the compressed peat pellets expand when you add water- great for kids
  • Less work so makes seed starting a quick job
  • Less mess since you don’t have to fill cell trays with soil
  • Makes planting out seedlings a breeze, & reduces transplant shock
  • Pellets retain moisture really well, so less watering to do
  • Pellets control sowing depth for you

CONS

  • Not as economical
  • Pellets are held together by a mesh or thin netting on the outside, which doesn’t always break down in the garden.
  • Can be hard to label, as there’s nowhere to stick the plant marker

These young parsley plants are now growing happily- they were raised & transplanted in seed raising pellets

If you’re new to gardening or nervous about seed starting, seed raising pellets could be for you! Why not try some seeds in soil and some in pellets, & see which you like best. Happy gardening!

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