One of the joys of springtime is planting seeds. We can’t wait to get our hands in the soil. We are buoyed by fresh air, sunshine, and the promise of our garden-to-be. Who wouldn’t be excited by that? However, as gardeners, we face one common frustration; how to properly plant tiny seed.
Tiny seed can be the bane of a gardener’s existence. It is hard to pick up with our fingers. Spacing is difficult as it slips from our hands. And trying to keep small seed in a straight row is difficult at best. And if it is a windy day, your tiny seed will be scattered about your garden. Just what is a gardener to do?
Folks, the answer is making your own seed tape! Now you may wonder exactly what is seed tape?
It is a roll with seed in between two thin strips of paper. This tape (paper) is planted and watered. By getting the paper wet, the paper begins to break down and the moisture reaches the enclosed seeds. The seeds will germinate in the typical time frame associated with the variety planted.
Benefits of Using Seed Tape
- Ensure proper spacing of seeds – use a ruler or measuring tape
- No wasting of seed – you control how many seeds to place
- Ideal for planting small seeds – use a tweezer for maximum control of placing seed
- Can be made in advance – great indoor winter project
- Save money – no need to go back and thin seedlings due to proper spacing.
Making seed tape at home is easy. In fact, you probably have all the materials already on hand. Items needed include: paper towels (or toilet paper), ruler or measuring tape, tweezer, scissors, egg white (or water soluble glue), and seeds.
Lay out a length of paper towel. For simplicity, we use the brand of paper towel that allows you to tear off a 6″ wide sheet. Cut the sheet in half horizontally.
Measure out the spacing of the seed according to the packet. Note: use the ‘thinned’ spacing rather than the ‘sowing’ spacing. (This allows you to save seed and therefore money.)
Dip the end of your finger (or toothpick) into the egg white. Dab on the egg white along the center of the paper towel at the proper intervals according to the seed packet.
Use a pair of tweezers and place one seed on each dab of egg white.
Fold the paper towel over the seeds.
There. That is it. You can either store the seed tape in a cool location or plant according your average frost-free date. Follow planting instruction on the seed packet and remember to completely cover the seed tape. Water the row with your newly planted seed tape.