Gel Sowing Method of Seed Starting

Gel Sowing is a method of starting seeds indoors, where seedling emergence is 2-3 weeks earlier than with dry-sown seeds and higher yields have been shown for slow-germinating crops like early carrots, parsnips, tomatoes and onions. It also makes for a safer way to plant out the seedlings, without damaging the roots. Awesome for areas with short growing seasons. Worth a try for any gardener.


  1. Put seeds on moist paper towel in a plastic container (like tupperware). Put the lid on and keep it at about 70 degrees F until roots begin o appear.
  2. When the roots are about 1/4″ long, carefully wash them off the towel and into a fine-gauge plastic strainer.
  3. Make up some fungicide-free wallpaper paste at half the normal strength, and when it has thickened, add the seeds to it, stirring gently. Try not to touch the delicate seeds
  4. Pour the paste and seed mix into a plastic bag and seal the top with a not, or ziploc.
  5. Plant the germinated seeds by making a shallow trench in the soil and moisten it. Cut the corner off the plastic bag and squeeze the seeds and paste out into the trench. Acake icing bag would also work.
  6. Cover the seeds and firm gently with the back of a rake. Keep the row moist in dry weather.

Source: Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

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