Make Your Own Seed Tape

comments (4) August 27th, 2013

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yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
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Many of the things youll need are common household items.
You wont need to make a lot of paste, as it goes a long way.
Lightly mark the paper according to the seed packets spacing recommendations.
A small dot is all youll need.
Spacing the seeds out in a saucer, plate, or other white surface will make picking up the seeds easier.
You can place one or two seeds per dot.
The tape is ready to go when the paste is dry.
You can make your tape as wide as you like.
Click To Enlarge Photo: Greg Holdsworth (All photos)

OK, I'll admit it. Up until now I haven't appreciated the usefulness of seed tapes. Assuming the store carries them at all, the variety selection is extremely limited. When it comes to spacing the seeds and rows in my raised beds, I'm a gardening perfectionist–always trying to get nice, neat, perfectly spaced rows of seeds. Not only that, having to thin out perfectly good seedlings is always a painful experience. Since it is now time to plant fall carrots in our area, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try the seed tape thing out. The following project will yield 2-4 seed tapes, about an inch wide. You can certainly vary this, to make whatever spacing configuration you need.


The list of things you'll need:

1. Flour
2. Water
3. Scissors
4. Toilet paper (paper towels or white party streamers can also be used)
5. Ruler
6. Pencil
7. Small paintbrush
8. Seeds
9. Small bowl
10. Plate

Optional:
Tweezers
Airtight bag or container


Skill Level:

Easy


Procedure:

1. In a small bowl or container, mix the flour and water until a thick paste forms. You're aiming for the consistency of white craft glue or syrup. It should be thick enough to sit on the end of your brush or pencil without dripping.

2. Cut the toilet paper in half, at the length you need. The toilet paper is twice the width you need, so by cutting it in half down the middle, you'll have 2 tapes already measured, or 4 tapes if the paper is two-ply.

3. Use a pencil and ruler to draw marks on the paper according to the seed packet's spacing recommendations. 

4. Place the seeds you'll be using on a clean plate and spread them apart so they're easier to pick up.

5. Using the small paintbrush, put small 'dots' or dollops of the paste along one side of the toilet paper strip, on the marks you made.

6. Use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to stick one or two seeds to each dot. 

7. Fold the other half of the toilet paper over, on top of the seeds. This will seal the seeds inside your seed tape until they're in the ground and ready to germinate. The paste will also keep the paper sealed.

8. Allow the tape to dry, then write the plant and variety name on it.

At this point your seed tape is ready to go. If it's not planting time when you're finished, you'll need to store it in an airtight container, preferably in a cool place. Roll the tape up into a coil, or simply wrap it around an empty toilet paper roll.

To plant the seed tape, prepare your growing area as usual and lay the tape down. Cover it with the appropriate depth of soil and water as usual. The toilet paper will gradually dissolve in time as the seedlings grow.

 

 


After you try it, show it off to other members in the
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posted in: seeds, seed-starting, seed tape

Comments (4)

LeslieWilliams writes: This is great! My one question is how far in advance can I make this seed tape before planting. In other words, can I store this seed tapes for say 4 months? Would the seeds still be viable? Thank you!!
Posted: 9:21 pm on September 25th
grySNJ writes: Hi there folks... my only comment is that I used one ply Marine/RV TP since is dissolves much more quickly and doesn't have perfumes and other chemical stuff in it. I buy it at the local Walmart. I let the tapes dry overnight and then fold and place them in an envelop. Done this for carrots, beets and lettuce....

Posted: 6:59 am on February 3rd
maells222 writes: Brilliant idea and your right about the perfect rainy day kid project! Thanks.
Posted: 7:15 am on September 21st
scrubble4 writes: This is brilliant. For all the same reasons you mentioned (evenly spaced, not having to painfully pull up plants to thin etc.) I have often wished I could make a tape. I like to grow unusual types of plants and varieties within plants so there is no way commercial tapes would work. Also they seem pricey to me and one of the many reasons I garden is to reduce costs. So this is a wonderful answer to my dilemma.
Thank you for thinking of it, testing it out and publishing it.
Posted: 10:06 am on September 13th
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