The Joy of Seed Tapes

My least favorite thing about planting my spring garden is sowing microscopic seeds. I’m impatient and end up dropping too many, too close together. If it happens to be windy when I sow, my troubles are magnified. Then, after my seeds sprout, I have to thin them. It breaks my heart to yank perfectly happy seedlings out of the soil. Yet, I know that if I don’t, they will overcrowd and my crop will not thrive. Transplanting the thinned seedlings rarely works and usually ends up in more disappointment.

Ahh… but don’t despair my heavy-handed fellow gardeners. Seed tapes to the rescue! If you’re not familiar with seed tapes, they are long strips of biodegradable paper with perfectly spaced seeds attached to them. Genius! I’ve purchased them in the past and have been thrilled with the results. I would purchase them for all of my tiny seed needs, but the varieties are limited, they are hard to come by and they can be a bit pricey.

This year, I decided to make my own seed tapes, by golly! I used seeds I had on hand, newspaper, and paste made from flour and water. Not only was it a super easy project, but it took less time than it takes to fret over spacing seeds in the soil, thinning them and then mourning their demise.

While you wait for planting time, why not make a few seed tapes? All you need are a few basic supplies that you probably already have on hand. I used newspaper strips for my seed tapes, but you could also use toilet paper, paper towels or any paper that will disintegrate in the soil. Some people use non-toxic glue to attach their seeds. I mixed up a little flour and water and made a paste the consistency of glue. Then, I dipped a toothpick in the paste, picked up a tiny seed with the drop of paste and placed it on the newspaper strip. I spaced the seeds according to the recommended spacing on the seed packets. After the paste dried, I folded the seed tapes and put them in a baggie along with the seed packet. So easy.

When planting time rolls around, I’ll be armed with several varieties of carrot and radish seed tapes. I will simply plant them at the recommended depth, water and wait… no thinning necessary!

If you have kids, this project is a great way to introduce them to gardening. Try radishes, carrots, lettuce, herbs, or flowers. If the seeds are tiny, they are seed tape material! In the case of flowers, you could use larger pieces of paper and create a seed mat.

Linking to Homestead Barn Hop.

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6 thoughts on “The Joy of Seed Tapes

  1. This is a fantastic idea. One that I would never have thought of. I think I’ll suggest this project for my granddaughters. Thanks for sharing this.

    I glanced out the patio door window this morning and saw a fat robin perched on a branch of my maple tree. Yippee! It seems a little early for Wisconsin though.

  2. Since I never heard of seed tapes, I found this information fascinating. Just may give it a try. This year I will give my hand a try at hay bale gardening. Do you have any tips?

  3. That was total genius Jules!! I am going to build a raised bed next week! I will keep you posted on the outcome – I have been reading over your previous posts to get ideas and tips! I need all the help I can get! Thanks for the smart idea.
    Alyson 🙂

    • Thanks Alyson! I planted a few of the seed tapes about a week ago. The plants are already popping out of the soil. Good luck with the raised bed. You’re going to LOVE how easy it is to keep up with a raised bed garden. Hardly any maintenance!!!

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