How Many Seeds Do You Need

Part 5 in my Plan Your Growing Season series.

(Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here)

At this point you know how much need to seed.

It’s time to figure out how many seeds you’ll need and hit those seed catalogs!!!

Calculating the seeds comes down to multiplying 4 things.

For a direct seeded crop you need to know …

  1. Your total bedfeet seeded
  2. How many rows per bedt
  3. Your seeder’s seeding rate
  4. A safety factor (SF) to make sure you have enough seeds on hand

If you grow 1500 bedfeet of carrots over the whole season on 3 rows per bed and you get 30 seeds per foot with your Jang Seeder, then you need 148 250 carrot seeds (including a 1.3 SF.)

For a transplanted crop you need to know …

1. The total number of trays you seeded

2. The number of seeds per cell

3. How many seeds per cell

4. That seed safety factor (SF) 

If you seed 30 trays of Red Oak lettuce over the whole season in trays with 128 cells and you seed 2 seeds per cell to make sure at least one germinates (you’ll thin any extras), then you need 9 984 carrot seeds (including a 1.3 SF.)

There is one more thing to do before you open your seed catalogs.

Convert those seed counts into weights!

This is important because different seed catalogs sell seeds in different ways. Some by seed count and some by ounce, pound, or gram.

If you determine what seed weights you need in different weight units, you’ll be better equipped to decipher all the different seed formats.

First, divide your seed count by the seeds per ounce for that crop (you can find this in most seed catalogs.)

148 250 carrot seeds at 16 000 seeds per ounces comes to 9.1 ounces.

Then do a little unit conversion.

9.1 ounces is the same as 0.8 pounds or 256 grams.

With this information in hand, you can easily peruse seed catalogs and choose the right quantity of seed you need for your season.

The only thing left to do is order those seeds and lay back and enjoy the winter … well at least until you start your greenhouses, or interview candidates to join your veg crew, or run that CSA recruitment campaign or …

I guess farmers don’t really stop but just make sure you take a moment to celebrate and relax

I’ve got one more post about tying your plan together.


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