May 2, 2014

DIY Seed Tape - How to Make Your Own Seed Tape and Save

How to Make Your Own Seed Tape and Save
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Until this year, I'd never used seed tape. But this spring, I've found it's extremely helpful when gardening with children. Kids (at least mine) want to do it all themselves. But giving a packet of tiny seeds to a young child is just asking for waste, frustration, and not very many plants. On the other hand, seed tape is very easy for children to use, and makes gardening that much more fun.

But seed tape is expensive! It's not unusual to see 7 feet of seed tape to sell for about $7. The good news is, it's cheap and easy to make your own seed tape - and the kids can even help.

What is Seed Tape?

Seed tape is simply a strip of paper with seeds glued to it. To use seed tape, lay the strip in your garden, cover it  with a bit of soil, water, and wait for the seeds to sprout.

Other Reasons You Might Use Seed Tape

Aside from the kid factor, there are a few reasons you might want to use seed tape. For example, its great for when you're planting seeds that are small and difficult to handle - like carrot seeds. By using seed tape, you can plant more precisely and avoid wasting any seed. If you want very neat rows of plants, seed tape is also very helpful. And it can give novice gardeners a better sense of confidence.

DIY Seed Tape

Gather together:

Seeds
White glue (like Elmer's school glue - the liquidy kind that's white)
Cheap toilet paper (single ply paper is best, but if you have two ply toilet paper, it's fine to separate the layers and use just one ply)
Waxed paper to protect your work surface
Optional: A seed sower or tweezers


Glue holds the seeds in place.

1. Cover your work surface with a layer of waxed paper. This will help prevent the seed tape from sticking to the work surface.

2. Roll out a section of toilet paper. Optional: Cut the toilet paper in half, lengthwise; the idea here is just to use up less toilet paper.

3. Place dots of glue on the toilet paper, using the spacing desired for whatever seeds you are using. (Read the seed packet for specific advice on seed spacing.) You can make just a single row of dots or, if the toilet paper is wide and you want to plant closely, multiple rows.

A seed sower is helpful when dealing with tiny seeds.
4. Carefully place one seed on each dot of glue. If desired, you can place two or three seeds on each dot of glue, to ensure at least one seed germinates on each dot. (Tip: a seed sower is an inexpensive and handy tool for handling tiny seeds. Or, just use tweezers.)

5. Allow the glue to dry. I recommend lifting the toilet paper off the wax paper from time to time, to ensure it doesn't stick. If you will be making seed tape for more than one type of seed, be sure to write the name of the seed (like "carrots" or "Tom Thumb lettuce") on the toilet paper seed tape.

6. To store the seed tape until you're ready to use it, gently roll it and place the tape inside an envelope. Be sure to label the envelope with the type of seed is inside. Keep in a cool, dark, dry location.

8. To use the seed tape, water the garden area well, then lay the tape in the garden, wherever you want the plants to grow. Cover lightly with soil. You're done! The seeds will germinate and pop up through the glue and toilet paper. Don't worry if some toilet paper shows after planting. It will quickly disintegrate.
Watch my video to see how easy it is to make your own seed tape!




4 comments:

  1. I love this. My four kids are begging to garden. However, we don't own a plow or basically ANY gardening tools. I asked my dad for help, and his reply was my yard is probably too hard! I just want them to be able to plan and grow two or three items. Is it too late in the year? How do I go about it? Where do I start? Agggghhhhh. I want to know more than I know now. Any advice, links, tips, etc? I've tried googling info. So far, we've tried to grow a sunflower in a pot and a little red flower in a pot. FAIL. If I can't do that, how can I grow veggies??? Lol

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  2. Staci, it is not too late to start a garden for this year - nor is it too early to prepare the soil for next year's garden. I would dig around with a shovel to see how "hard" the soil is. If it's very hard, I would start with a few things in containers. This will give you a feel for gardening without breaking the bank. Then you have two choices: Raised beds or lasagna gardening. If the soil doesn't seem hard, I would test it using a cheap soil test kit from a garden store. It will tell you if the soil is in good shape for gardening, and what to apply to the soil if it's not...but I would plan on having an in-the-soil garden next year. There are lots of articles on this blog that will help you with your gardening venture. See the Gardening 101 link over to the left. Some specific articles to get you started:

    Working with Poor Garden Soil: http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2011/03/working-with-poor-gardening-soil.html#.U2PwwFdtUz4

    Total Beginner's Guide to Growing Vegetables: http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2010/02/total-beginners-guide-to-growing.html#.U2PxHVdtUz4

    Location, Location, Location: http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-vegetable-garden-location-location.html#.U2PxX1dtUz4

    Do These Things Now: http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-vegetable-garden-location-location.html#.U2PxX1dtUz4

    How to Get a Green Thumb: http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2011/04/reader-question-which-gardening-method.html#.U2Px1FdtUz4

    Which Gardening Method: http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2011/04/reader-question-which-gardening-method.html#.U2Px1FdtUz4

    And, if you decide to plant in containers, Making Potted Plants Happy: http://www.proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-vegetable-garden-location-location.html#.U2PxX1dtUz4

    And, of course, if you have any other questions, shoot them my way!

    ReplyDelete
  3. STaci, you came to the right place. Three years ago I began gardening thanks to Kristina. I just read all her posts on gardening and began one step at a time. Plant your favorite vegetable first. Read all about it. BAby it. Once you get really good results you won't want to stop. :)

    Kristina, you are the best. This seed tape is fantastic. Never heard of it until now, but I will definitely use it.

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  4. I am blushing - but very happy you've found my articles helpful!

    ReplyDelete