[Market-farming] Gel sowing

Pam Twin Oaks pam at twinoaks.org
Wed Aug 8 17:09:32 EDT 2012


Here's some notes I have on how to sow pre-sprouted seeds in a jelly.

Sprout the seeds, and once the shoots are 0.2” (5 mm) long, rinse and
strain them gently.

Make up a starch or cellulose paste. In England I used wallpaper paste,
although it is important to make sure the paste has no fungicides. A cup of
thick cornstarch paste is easily cooked up by making a smooth slurry with
1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) of cornstarch and an equal amount of cold water.
Heat a cup of water, then stir in the slurry and boil for one minute to
activate the cornstarch, stirring gently. If the paste is becoming too
thick, stir in a little more water. Possible substitutes for cornstarch
include the same quantity of xanthan gum, pectin, agar, gelatin, arrowroot,
potato starch or tapioca. If using regular flour, use twice as much.

Allow the paste to cool, then gently stir in the seeds. They should not
sink when the mix is allowed to stand. If they do, the mixture was not
thick enough. Start again and decant the seed layer to mix into a thicker
paste.

Pour the mixture into a plastic bag, and when you get to the garden, snip a
small corner off the bag. Ideally the mixture should squeeze out into a
damp furrow at about 1 tablespoon per foot of row (15 ml/30 cm), and should
contain the number of seeds you want to plant in that distance. It may be
worth experimenting on the kitchen counter first! After sowing in the
garden, cover the seeds with soil in the usual way.

*            **The Complete Know and Grow Vegetables, *by JKA Bleasdale, PJ
Slater and others, has a good description of this method, which is also
used to speed emergence in cold spring weather.
Note that I haven't actually done this, since my days with wallpaper paste
in England. I'd love to hear from people who try it.

Pam, Twin Oaks Community, Virginia

-- 
Pam Dawling

Author of Sustainable Market Farming, Intensive Vegetable Production on a
Few Acres
http://www.sustainablemarketfarming.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
http://www.newsociety.com/Books/S/Sustainable-Market-Farming
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