Came across this article today and thought I'd share it.
Starting seeds in gelatin
I start alot of seeds; I'll give it a try on some.
Some bromeliads, such as Tillandsia and Vriesea, are hard to start from seed. I'm gonna try this method, but it will be several months before I know how well it works.
I might try it too this winter. Please report back - the results should be interesting.
WoW what a neat idea will have to try this to just to do it
Janet, can you possibly translate those amounts into standard measurements??
LOL! tiG, they ARE in standard measurements. Not my fault if the US is the last dinosaur... Sorry, couldn't help teasing a bit. But if you would like it in non-standard American measurements...
For reference 5 centimetres = 2"
A litre is a bit more than an American quart
250 millilitres = 1 cup (close enough, it's a smidgeon bigger)
38ºC is about 100ºF
15º is about 60ºF
I think that should pretty well carry you through the article.
FWIW, we may possibly be moving to the States at some point in the future and one of the things that psychs my kids out is the idea of coping with American measurements. Unlike my generation, who went through the whole conversion process and can operate in either system, metric or Imperial, they've gotten nothing but metric in school and look at me all blank if I slip and use pounds or miles or Fahrenheit. Then it's them demanding a translation. And to make it worse, an American quart is smaller than an Imperial one, which makes the gallon smaller and ...
Being Canadian involves being bilingual in more than one way.
sorry, my dumb DH (okay I asked him:) said standard, but I forgive him, he was watching Nascar, and I should have known. (he's still insisting standard,) but thanks for the help!!!!
LOL!!! Well, it is standard in the States, just not in the rest of the world. And there's a lot of world out there. ;o) If it makes you feel any better, a lot of Canadians never did switch over too well. Except perhaps for temperatures and distances, seeing as all the signs and speedometers dropped the miles years ago and weather reports are always in Celsius. But cooks have clung fiercely to cups and all our measuring cups have both systems on them. Most rulers still include inches down one side too, but my kids just ignore that side... Metric is so much easier, they just couldn't be bothered.
Anyway, have fun with the gelatin. Personally, I like the idea of not having to water tiny seedlings.
:) can I blame my feeblemindedness on the pain meds?? This sounds so interesting, I've got to give it a shot.
well maybe the rest of the world is backward....LOL
Planted some Vriesea seeds today in gelatin, will keep you posted. It will be several weeks before I know whether the seeds are even viable!!!
Just for future reference, it's called "English measurement". I think the English came up with it originally. I believe the metric system originated in France.
I'm not too sure "boil for 5 minutes to sterilize" and "press the seeds with your hand" are compatable operations. Sterility isn't going to be there in most non-treated seeds, anyway. I'd keep the lemon juice handy. :)
Cool article, nonetheless.
Very neat I am going to try it and pass it to my daughters teacher sounds like a neat science project.
You can dowload a free conversion program at this site:
Go to downloads, then select ESB Unit Conversion Utility - it's fairly simple to use, and will convert backwards and forwards between Metric and Imperial (English), or whatever.
In the end, I would like to ask, as I live in Greece, which is not only metric but also does not have the gelatin available everywhere as it is not popular.
Is the principle or the detailed measurements that works ?? Could I do it, e.g. in wallpaper glue thick enough ?? It is only cellulose, as opposed to gelatin which is made of cow bones and has the risk of encephalopathy !
Why fertilizer and not peat moss added to the gelatin ?
waiting for your comments
I kept watching this thread for updates and just realized that Janet did not subscribe. Now we will never know how her experiments are working out. Is anyone else trying this? If so please let us know how it worked for you and if you had the mold problems.
Dimitri, I don't know the answer to your questions but if you want to try this I can pick up some gelitin at the grocery and send it to you.
This message was edited Wednesday, Nov 14th 3:49 AM
Hi Zanymuse, long time since I communicated with anyone at DG. I am building my house, and too much work leaves not enough energy to chat re. seeds etc.
Thank you, I don't want gelatin. What I do is quite effective : 40% clay soil, 60% peat moss, put the seed in a seeding pot (2" x 2") and repot when 2nd set of leaves is developing. The gel comes EXTREMELY handy, is when I want to sow directly to the ground a lot of minute seeds (like dandelion, e.g.) then I prepare wallpaper glue, throw in the seeds, mix well, and sow with a pastry funnel, or even by the spoonful !!
PS some photos from spring and summer will be for the winter nights - I hope soon
I'll be looking for thos pics! How is the house progressing?
I started some seed in the gelatin and it did real well for about 5 days, then some mold started where the seed was. It caused the gelatin to desolve. There was a tiny pond around each seed.After I sprayed the surface with the bleach mixture it seemed to stop. Later the hollow places where the ponds were got bigger. This ment that more of the gelatin was dissolving. I sprayed again after pouring the watery liquid off. Every day after there was more of the gelitan dissolved until there was only about 1 in. left. I removed the seed and started another batch of gelatin, hopefully the seed will sprout soon.
That seems to be the big problem with this method. Please let us know how you do with the next batch. I am wondering if there is another medium that might work better like those pellets you add to keep soil moist longer. I haven't seen them but a friend said they are kind of like jello.
I think the mold came from the seeds. How would you steralize a seed anyway? You go to a lot of trouble to boil, steralize the containers and the gelatin but not the seed. Odd don`t you think.
I have thought for a long time this world work. So yesterday, I decided to try it, not with regular gelatin but with water absorbing polymer crystals. I used a few unpeeled brug seeds. Just an experiment. I root a lot of other things in them too, then I don't have to worry about letting the soil get too dry, a fault of mine. I'll let you know what happens.
I too was thinking the crystals would work better. They shouldn't break down like the gelatin since they are inert matter. I wonder if the tea-tree oil would stop the mold in the seeds. I use it when starting seeds in soil-less mix and don't have a fungus problem. I have a few extra seeds and will try this and let everyone know. I had forgotten about this thread or could have begun sooner.
*the new diapers have water absorbing crystals inside if you can't find the Water-sorb brand*
Lowes or HD (can't rememner which) carry the Agrisoak brand. They are $11.95 a pound but cheaper than Diapers I imagine!! lol. They didn't seem to work as well as I had thought for seeds - they did work tho, just not really any faster! The brug seeds I put in the soil are the same size as the ones in the crystals. Just a couple of days ago I transplanted the ones from the crystals to pots and also the ones from the starting tray of soil. They are about 4" high with 2 healthy leaves.
Azalea, did you have any mold problem with the crystals? That seemed to be the biggest drawback to the gelitin. Also did you use them with a fertilizer or just water?
Zany, I just used water. As far as mold, no, they did turn a little green, but I call this alge. I have reused the crystals many times, just put them in a jar with more water and stir them arund til the green gets loose in the water and rinse them off, you can also put them in a strainer and just rinse them off. If you don't want to bother with this, you can just spread them out, let them dry out a few days and mix them in your soil.
I think I will try it. The big question now is...does this medium eliminate damping off problems?
Damping off??? Well, what do you have to lose? Just try a few seeds.
Damping off??? Well, what do you have to lose? Just try a few seeds in a small container, like a cottage cheese cup, etc.
Azalea, would you please tell me how o do this...is it crystals or powder? do you just put enough for an inch or two in the bottom of something? do you leave it where you can see water or not? thanks arlene
Arlene, use the cryatals. Yes, just put a small amt, enough just like you said for an inch or 2 in a container. I don't think you need to see the water, as long as the cryatals are fully expanded. I just sprinkled a few seeds, unpeeled in between the crystals. When they get roots and the first leaves, transfer them to soil.
Some of the crystals will hang on the roots, the roots grow right into them, this is good.
This message was edited Friday, Jan 18th 11:25 PM
Azalea thank you, was wanting to try this, i have a seed phobia. btw, i liked your crystals a lot. wanted to let you know at watersorb.com they will send a sample for two 34cent stamps, they have a lot of info, can also buy by 2 lbs, 5lbs, 10lbs etc a lot cheaper than from lowe's.
This isn't quite the same as starting seeds in gelatin... but a tip I came accross that suggests to use Jell-o when planting seeds. Sprinkle any flavored Jell-o (with sugar) over the seeds when planting and then top with a thin layer of soil. The gelatin will keep the seeds moist and the nitrogen in the jello is supposed to speed sprouting. The sugar will feed beneficial soil microbes. It also says that jello helps to fight off fungal diseases. I wonder how this works. I might have to try it.
Very interesting, Poppysue - I'm always experimenting. Pretty soon we'll know it all!!! LOL
Here is the recipe with all of the measurements changed from metric to US measures.
Jump-start seeds with gelatin
It’s almost de rigueur for Prairie gardeners to start seeds indoors during long winter months to wring a few extra weeks out of a notoriously short growing season. Sowing seeds in soilless mix is the usual route, but Willem Kuyt, a Carvel, Alberta, gardener and nursery owner, uses a less traditional medium. Kuyt says using gelatin, which is rich in phosphorus and calcium, improves germination rates and produces sturdy seedlings. It’s also less expensive and cleaner to work with than soilless mix, he says. Kuyt moved to Alberta from Holland two years ago, where gelatin is used in universities to start seedlings indoors. Here’s how it’s done. The following recipe yields enough gelatin to fill one 19.75- by 9.75 inch tray or four 5- by 9.75 inch trays. Alternatively, use short Mason jars. You don’t need to water the germinating seeds, so drainage holes aren’t necessary. Whatever containers you use, make sure they’re deep enough to allow for a 2-inch layer of gelatin, which will accommodate about 1,000 tiny seeds (like poppy) or 200 large seeds (like bean).
In a 5-quart saucepan, sprinkle 6 oz of unflavoured gelatin powder over 17 oz of cool water. (Gelatin packages generally come in .5 Oz envelopes, so for smaller batches, divide water and fertilizer amounts by 10.) Pour 18 oz of boiling water into the mixture and stir one to two minutes, until gelatin dissolves. Add 1 oz of water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20; stir for another two minutes. Add 2 Qts of boiling water, stir lightly and pour into wide-mouth Mason jars. Boil the jars in a canner for five minutes to sterilize the growing medium. Let cool to below 100ºF, then pour the mixture into plastic trays that have been washed with a 10 per cent solution of bleach and water, and then rinsed, or small Mason jars that have been sterilized. Place clear plastic or glass coverings over the trays or jars and let sit overnight. The next morning, sprinkle seeds liberally over the surface of the set gelatin, and press gently with your hand until the seeds are just below the surface. Place containers under fluorescent lights that almost touch the coverings. This will keep seeds at a comfortable 60ºF while they germinate. If mould develops on the gelatin before the seeds germinate, spray with a 10 per cent solution of bleach and water; if seedlings have emerged, use a 10 per cent solution of lemon juice or vinegar and water. When seedlings reach 3 inches, remove the covering and raise the lights to 1 inch above the plants. In about three weeks, most seedlings will be 2.5 inches tall and ready to be transplanted into individual pots or cell-packs, and placed in cold frames for hardening off. Slip the seedlings out of the gelatin with your fingertips—any residual mix on the plants won’t harm the transplants.