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How to Make Seed Tape

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Seed tape has a couple of great advantages to it. First off, and most obviously, it allows you to perfectly space crops in your garden, and it make it so easy: just dig a little furrow, lay down your seed tape, cover over, and water. But even more than that, I find that it provides me with one more way to make it through a long winter. On those days when you feel like you'll go insane if you don't get to garden --(and soon)-- make a few seed tapes. It may not be as satisfying as digging in the soil, but it's something tangible you can do to help your garden be more productive, even if you're stuck inside on a cold, gray winter day.

Luckily, it's easy and inexpensive to make seed tape from supplies you already have in the house.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Newspaper cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch strips
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Seeds (see below for a list of seeds that work well for this project)
  • A ruler

How To Make Seed Tape

This is so easy. Gather all of your supplies, and then settle in for an afternoon of seed tape making! Here's how to do it:

  1. Make a paste from the flour and water. Start with 1/4 cup of flour, and add water until you have a paste-like consistency. it should easily coat a spoon without dripping off. Keep adding flour and/or water and mixing until you get a good, paste-like consistency.
  2. Check the instructions on the back of your seed packet (or at the end of this post) to see how far to space seeds apart. Use the ruler, and write marks on your strips of newspaper at the recommended intervals.
  3. Dab a bit of paste onto the marks you made.
  4. Place a seed (or two, if you're concerned about whether they'll germinate or not) into each dab of glue.
  5. Write the name of the variety on each strip of newspaper.
  6. Wait for the flour glue to dry completely, then store your seed tapes in an airtight container, preferably in a cool place until it's time to plant. The refrigerator works well.

If you don't have newspapers around, strips of paper towel or even toilet paper would work as well.

When it's time to plant, place your seed tape in the garden and cover with soil, 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, depending on what type of seed you're planting. Water it well, keep it moist, and wait for those first sprouts to show up.

Seed Spacing for Common Herbs, and Vegetables

Space your seeds on the seed tape according to the following general recommendations. You can also find this information on your seed packet.

Herbs:

  • Basil: 4 inches
  • Chives: 6 inches
  • Cilantro: 6 inches
  • Dill: 12 inches
  • Mint: 12 inches
  • Oregano: 6 inches
  • Parsley: 6 inches
  • Sage: 12 inches
  • Thyme: 8 inches

Vegetables:

These are small-seeded vegetables that are commonly sown directly in the garden.

  • Arugula: 4 inches
  • Asian greens: 4 inches
  • Beets: 3 inches
  • Carrots: 3 inches
  • Collards: 6 inches
  • Kale: 6 inches
  • Lettuce: 6 inches
  • Mustard greens: 6 inches
  • Radishes: 2 inches
  • Rapini: 6 inches
  • Spinach: 4 inches
  • Swiss chard: 6 inches

Seed tapes are an easy way to get your garden planted. Even better, you can make these seed tapes during the winter and early spring, while you're waiting to get out into your garden. They're also a great project to do with kids.

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