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Sowing very fine seed

The recommended technique is usually to mix the seed with a little silver sand to help disperse the seed and to see where the seed/sand mix lands on the compost.

Not having any silver sand I thought of an alternative approach of mixing the sand with glitter and, to this end, bought a little tub of it for 99p in the craft shop today. Is this a daft idea or is it worth a go?


  • LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 3,945
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Hampshire_HogHampshire_Hog Hampshire Coast 100m from the seaPosts: 1,089
    Why buy a small tub of glitter when you can buy a bag of silver sand for about the same price?

    "You don't stop gardening because you get old, you get old because you stop gardening." - The Hampshire Hog
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,357
    I don't think glitter would work anyway.
    When I sow really fine seed like petunias or begonias I open the packet carefully just above the prepared seed tray I'm going to use. I cut off the top, bottom and one side of the packet then tap the invisible contents onto the compost, then turn the packet over and give it a good tap on the back.
    Sometimes the seedlings come up in clumps, but it's the best method I've found - so far
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • KiliKili Posts: 970
    OR buy pelleted seed. Many sellers often sell a pelleted version of fine seed such as petunia. Much easier to sow as you can stick each seed where you like. There more expensive obviously but you get a more accurate sowing.


    'The power of accurate observation .... is commonly called cynicism by those that have not got it.

    George Bernard Shaw'

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    My dad used to mix fine seed with ground rice, which my mum always had in the kitchen for making puddings.  As it was pale coloured, you could see where the seed was.  It seemed to work for him, but when I tried it recently, the rice grew mould which killed the seedlings.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,791
    Thanks for your advice, everyone.

    Just responding to some of your comments, had pelleted seed been available I would have bought it but it wasn’t so I couldn’t. Nor could I readily source silver sand in the couple of DIY type stores I visited but passing the crafts section I saw the glitter and thought I would risk the 99p investment. I might yet try it despite the cool reception it has had.

    LG I take your point about micro plastics but I really do wonder if my half teaspoonful of glitter is really going to make much of a difference to the global picture. I think most of us try to minimise our use of plastic and I have even recently made my own pea netting out of strong jute rather than buy a plastic net but I think we can take the exhortations too far sometimes. Who has switched to loose leaf while waiting for manufacturers to eliminate the use of plastics in teabags? Very, very few I would venture.
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,791
    edited March 2019
    Tried the glitter this week and, you were right, it was a miserable failure. There’s 99p wasted.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,357
    Oh well - at least you tried.
    You need something that is the same size as the seed, glitter is relatively large, so when you mix them the seed will sink to the bottom and the glitter would all be on top. I suppose you could crush the glitter in a pestle and mortar if you have one.
    Silver sand is extremely fine, which is why it's often used.
    I stick with my method - which has worked for me over the years
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,890
    Always loose tea here, and no glitter in seeds😀
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • I mix my fine seeds with cinnamon powder and they germinate well
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