Photo by Melody

Beginner Gardening Questions: Using plant gel to germinate seeds

Communities > Forums > Beginner Gardening Questions
bookmark
Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 5, Views: 86
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
snorkelpop
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

April 2, 2011
12:02 PM

Post #8467017

I've advanced to the stage where I am now using bleach to sterilize the seeds, a heating mat, and artificial lighting to get my plants started, but I'm not at all satisfied. There are just too many seeds that never develop. Some people have mentioned using folded paper in plastic bags. I haven't tried that yet, but I have to wonder how you're supposed to handle the sprouts: they're just too small and delicate to move, and it looks to me as if you'd just helplessly watch them shrivel-up and die. Anyway, that's not why I came here today. The reason I came here is to find out if anyone has tried plant gel for seed germination and what was their experience.? It looks promising to me, but actual experience is what counts.

I've now done further research, and I find that the folded paper in plastic bags has strong scientific backing behind it. In fact, the man who, it seems, is, or was, considered the leading authority on germination, Dr. Norman Deno, was one of the first to recommend this method. His book, "Seed Germination, Theory and Practice" is a classic in the field. It is hard to find the book now, but it is available for downloading. However, since it is over 270 pages, I just downloaded some of the parts that are currently of most interest to me.

This message was edited Apr 2, 2011 5:41 PM
snorkelpop
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

April 24, 2011
4:03 PM

Post #8518028

When I received my first kind of plant gel, I thought I might have been the victim of misinformation. I was mistaken. That tiny little envelope containing only two tablespoons of the crystals, somehow expanded to completely fill my one-gallon container with gorgeous jelly-like crystals. However, I bought the gel to use, not to gaze at, so today I filled 16 small paper cups with the gel and planted sun flower seeds in them. . Now the test begins.

I've written to three manufacturers of plant gel asking for their opinion about using their product for seed germination. Only one of them enthusiastically supported the idea. Well, now we'll see. Now we'll see if you can raise sunflower seedlings in gel. I'll let you know. Here's how they look today. Oh, the lights are on only for picture taking. They won't be on again until the seeds sprout.

Thumbnail by snorkelpop
Click the image for an enlarged view.

WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

April 25, 2011
1:31 PM

Post #8519608

Never used the gel that you are talking about, but, many years ago we were told a new product was made available to armature gardeners and it was little pots of ready made gel, clear as glass, but it was meant for rooting cuttings, last year another friend of mine got sachets of crystals to make gel foe seed propagation and the first trial there was not one seedling after 2 months, the gel went hard and dried out, the friend was hopping mad as it was past the seed planting time by the time she decided this was just a get rich quick scheme by some nutter, it may well work under proper lab conditions, but as my friend is a really well experienced horticulturist, she never did the seed planting again.

I can only assume the problems you have had with potting up your tiny seedlings is because you have not held the seedings by the leaf and held the stems, or you have tried to pot and separate the little seedings before they are ready, or you potting compost was too wet, things like that can cause seedlings to fall over or die, eventually you get it right and it just comes natural to you with practice.
Good luck with your trials and look forward to learning how it all went. WeeNel.
snorkelpop
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

April 28, 2011
11:47 AM

Post #8526427

I've used the gel pots you refer to, and I have no complaints. The results were great. As to plant gel in general, I had thought they were all the same, but it seems that I was wrong. Maybe that's why some even say to beware of toxicity, while others simply say that gel is not meant for seeds. Well, I have no laboratory, but we'll soon see if you can grow sunflowers in the gel I have. Its manufacturer, not surprisingly, says it's just fine for sprouting seeds. He even goes on to say which fertilizers should, or should not, be incorporated in the gel.

As to my fears about transplanting fragile seedlings, maybe you're right. Maybe it's just a matter of waiting until they are big and strong enough to be handled. All I can say is that I feel like I'm all thumbs when I try to move them. They're lucky if they survive my efforts. It's like doing delicate embroidery while wearing boxing gloves.
DorneAnn
Puerto Plata
Dominican Republic

July 31, 2012
2:16 PM

Post #9225124

so what happened? did they germinate ?
I too now have the gel and correct plant food for it. Fingers crossed.

My attempts to germinate any seed on or in gell have failed. Yes you could see the seed open and a shoot peek out but as to anything further than that then no. The gell to the seed I think is like quicksand is to us.. get your legs stuck in it and the suction prevents you getting out. I think its the same with the gell for the seed. Some seed I found to be very sticky after the gell loses some moisture.

So, with my experiments ive found a brilliant way.. on wet sand. I make tiny holes in the bottom of plastic cups then fill with sand. Stand in a shallow dish and pour water into the dish. The capilliary action draws the water all the way up into the sand without compressing it which would happen if I watered from the top. Put the seed on it or cover with more sand depending on if needing light or not to germinate and he presto. Seeds sprout and put roots down into the sand. When they open their first leaves I transplant.

This message was edited Aug 21, 2012 8:50 PM
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

July 31, 2012
4:14 PM

Post #9225262

snorkelpop wrote:I've advanced to the stage where I am now using bleach to sterilize the seeds, a heating mat, and artificial lighting to get my plants started, but I'm not at all satisfied. There are just too many seeds that never develop. Some people have mentioned using folded paper in plastic bags. I haven't tried that yet, but I have to wonder how you're supposed to handle the sprouts: they're just too small and delicate to move, and it looks to me as if you'd just helplessly watch them shrivel-up and die. Anyway, that's not why I came here today. The reason I came here is to find out if anyone has tried plant gel for seed germination and what was their experience.? It looks promising to me, but actual experience is what counts.

I've now done further research, and I find that the folded paper in plastic bags has strong scientific backing behind it. In fact, the man who, it seems, is, or was, considered the leading authority on germination, Dr. Norman Deno, was one of the first to recommend this method. His book, "Seed Germination, Theory and Practice" is a classic in the field. It is hard to find the book now, but it is available for downloading. However, since it is over 270 pages, I just downloaded some of the parts that are currently of most interest to me.

This message was edited Apr 2, 2011 5:41 PM


You should read Dr. Deno's research on heating mats then... ;-) (Also, see Deno's second and third supplements.)
By the way, Deno's method is intended for seeds that have complicated germination delay behavior, in order to save space until the seeds actually germinate... no point using this method for annuals or for any other seeds that can be expected to germinate promptly without stratification. Best to sow those directly into pots. The finer the seeds, the less easy it is to use this method, also. Best to sow those in pots, also. But in general, if the root of a seedling is hard to extricate from the fibers of the paper towel, just snip or tear the damp paper towel away with it and plant it all.

I assume you're thinking of plant gel for providing constant moisture to the seeds for germination? It really isn't necessary... you can either simply cover seed trays with a clear plastic lid to provide the necessary, constant humidity (these flats can also be stratified) or, if you are using Deno's paper towel/baggie method, you've already got the constant humidity needed.


You cannot post until you register and login.


Other Beginner Gardening Questions Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Cyclanthus bipartitus 'Gigant' bepah 3 Jun 11, 2010 9:05 AM
Welcome to the Beginner Gardening Questions forum! dave 53 Jun 18, 2013 4:28 PM
canna rhizomes help Allison_FL 20 Jan 16, 2013 6:55 PM
Where to locate my garden - light issues Martell 18 Apr 19, 2010 2:17 PM
Baby Oak Tree Seedtosser1 13 Jun 4, 2009 5:13 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America