Is it spring yet where you live? It seems like spring here but we know that won’t last. Our little valley has an average frost date of June 15th – which means we can’t really plant our garden until June! We actually cheat a little because we use the Square Foot Gardening method. It’s easy to plant in May and cover our boxes with plastic at night to keep the plants from freezing. We have planted our peas and plan on planting other cool weather crops towards the end of April.
The kids have had garden fever for the last week at least. I swear they’ve circled half the seed catalog! To help ease some of their symptoms we made seed tapes to plant in our garden when it’s finally time.
What are seed tapes? Basically, it’s a strip of biodegradable paper on which seeds have been “glued” at the proper spacing. When it’s time to plant you just dig a row, place the seed tape in, cover it with soil, and water it. Seed tapes are ideal for those seeds that are hard to plant because they are so small like carrots, lettuce, and spinach. It saves money as you aren’t planting too many seeds that will have to be thinned out later when they have sprouted. It’s also easier for little ones to help when it’s planting time. Laying down a strip of seed tape is much easier than trying to have them sprinkle the seeds directly into the soil.
☺ Biodegradable paper such as paper towels, napkins, newspaper, and even the cheap toilet paper.
☺ Glue (two recipes follow)
☺ Plastic zip top bag
1. Cut your paper into 1 inch wide strips. Label each strip with whatever seeds you will glue on them.
2. Use a ruler to mark the spacing for each seed. Follow the guide on the seed packets. For instance, for our rainbow mix of carrots we made a dot every two inches down the strip of napkin.
3. Make water soluble glue. Here are two recipes to use. We prefer the cornstarch one.
Flour and Water Paste:
Mix 1 cup flour with enough water to make a thick paste the consistency of gravy.
In a small saucepan, mix one cup cold water with one tablespoon cornstarch. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil about 1 minute until thick and clear. Let cool.
4. With a toothpick dab some glue on each dot on the paper strip.
5. Place one seed on each dab of glue. Let dry completely.
6. Place seed tape in a plastic bag until planting time. If you are worried about moisture ruining the seed tapes sprinkle in some powdered milk. It will absorb any extra moisture in the bag.
Here’s our completed seed tapes. We used paper napkins because they were already 12 inches long which will fit perfectly in our Square Foot Garden spaces. We glued carrots, radishes and green onions to strips.
We used a whole napkin to glue our lettuce and spinach seeds. With Square Foot Gardening you can fit four plants in each square so that was our spacing for these.
You can also make seed tapes with flower seeds. Wouldn’t it make a fun gift to spell some one’s name with flower seeds on a long strip of like five sheets of paper towel that have been left uncut so it can accommodate the height of the letters?