Kitchen Gardening

Make Your Own Seed Tape

Making your own seed tape can save you time, ensures your plants are spaced out correctly, and is a great "rainy day" project for kids.

  • Photo/Illustration: Greg Holdsworth (All photos)
  • Many of the things you'll need are common household items.
  • You won't need to make a lot of paste, as it goes a long way.
  • Lightly mark the paper according to the seed packet's spacing recommendations.
  • A small dot is all you'll 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.

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.

 

 

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Comments

  1. andreamark543 07/14/2020

    Yeah its a great way to learn our kids about gardening, I mostly buy these tapes from Back to school coupons because I easily get much discount, and they deliver stuff at home, but I will try this tape to make at home, because your ideas are great.

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    Home and garden. This was very informative and helpful!

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