How To Create Simple Seed Tapes

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Certain vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and onions have very tiny seeds that are difficult to sow. Usually you end up getting way too many seeds per hole and have to do a lot of thinning once the seeds have sprouted.

One very easy solution for this problem is to create seed tapes for planting those tiny seeds. Seed Tapes can be made in a variety of ways and with numerous materials, but I am going to show you my method of creating seed tapes.

The items you will need to make my seed tapes are normal things you find around the home: paper towels (the two-ply type is best), a spray bottle filled with water, a pair of scissors, and the seeds you want to plant.

First, pull off about three or four sheets off the paper towels. Make sure to keep the sheets intact – do not separate them. It is best to use plain white paper towels, try to avoid the type with the printed designs.

Spread Out the Paper Towels or Toilet Paper

Use the scissors and cut the paper towels length ways into 1 – 2 inch strips. Moisten the strips using the sprayer filled with water.

Cut the Paper Towel Into Long Strips

Pour your seeds into a plate and spread them around a bit to make them easier to pick up. Here I am using 'Parade' green onion seeds.

Gather Seeds for the Seed Tapes

Carefully pick up the seeds and place them on the moistened paper towels strips. Space the seeds according to the recommendations on the seed packet. The seeds I am using should be 3 inches apart. Here I am placing two seeds every 3 inches.

You can place one seed per space or as many as you’d like, but the more you place in each spot the more thinning you will have to do later. I think two seeds per space is a good number, and thinning down to one plant per space later will not be that big a deal.

Once you have finished laying out your seeds, moisten the paper towel strips again with the spray bottle.

Lightly Mist the Seeds With Water

Fold one-third of the paper towel over the seeds and lightly crease the paper towel. Moisten the paper towel strips again. Gently tamp the towel so it seals against the seeds.

Fold Paper Towel Strips In Half Long Ways

Fold the other one-third of the paper towel over the first fold and the seeds. Lightly moisten the paper towel strip again, and tamp with your hand to seal the fold.

Fold Paper Towel Strips In Half and Mist Lightly Again

You can grab the seed tape on the ends and carry in a “U-shape” out to the garden and plant your brand new seed tapes. Plant the seed tapes with the one ply side up (the side that doesn’t have the folds), and make sure to plant at the recommended depth on the seed packet.

The paper towel will decompose and the sprouting seedling will pop through the towel on its way up though the soil. Now you have an easy and convenient way to plant those cumbersome seeds.

If you have some tricks, tips, or ideas on planting tiny seeds then please feel free to share them!

Convenient Seed Tapes

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Comments

  1. Brilliant! I am going to do this!
    I can’t tell you how much I am loving your website.
    Thank you so much for all the great info you provide.
    xo
    ~Annica
    .-= Annica┬┤s last blog ..Sunday Summary ~ March Right In =-.

    • Hi! Thanks so much for the very kind words! The seed tapes are super easy and really make those tiny seeds a snap to sow! I used paper towels in the post, but plain white toilet paper works well too. Please let me know how they work for you should you give them a try!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Tee

  2. I hate wasting garden seeds, especially now that prices have increased for fewer seeds per packet. Your idea for creating seed tapes is common-sense and eco-friendly, and I’ll (hopefully) get more bang for my buck with less seed going to waste. Great idea, Tee; thanks for sharing it!

    Marge

    • Hi Marge – I’m glad you enjoyed the tip. You can also use unscented, unprinted, single-ply toilet paper as well. You know… the stuff you bought accidentally but wouldn’t dare use for it’s intended purpose ;)

      The toilet paper seems to break down a bit faster than paper towels due to it being thinner. The seed tapes work very well though. A couple years ago I planted turnips, which are very tiny seeds. After a few months I began to notice little turnips everywhere. I didn’t realize I had dropped so many! Since using the seed tapes I don’t have that problem any more.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Tee

  3. Tee, I am laughing at your suggestion for using that awful one-ply TP for this purpose. It sure isn’t getting used any other way, is it?

    Great tips on this post, thank you.

    • OH my gosh! This is awesome! I wish I had known about it earlier in the year…but will use it as I’m starting my second season here. Maybe the only plus side of living in the heat…two seasons. Thank you for this amazing idea!

  4. Patricia Robinson says:

    After the seed tapes are dried, what keeps the seeds in the paper towel so they don’t shift. I would like to do this now in Feb. but I won’t be planting until april in Utah. Do I need to use a glue or will the seeds stay where there are?

    • Hi Patricia – I usually make my seed tapes right before I’m ready to plant, or maybe the night before. You could make them now to get an early start on your vegetable garden. The only way I know of to keep the seeds in place is by keeping the tape wet. I’m not sure if the seeds will stay in place if the paper towel is dry.

      I’m not sure about using a glue. I’d be a little unsure about using it. Maybe if you could find a water soluble glue that will dissolve when it gets wet that might work great. You could also try rolling the tape up.

      Start at one end and tightly roll the seed tape up into a ball, then put a rubberband around it to keep it from unrolling.

  5. Instead of spraying water, use home made flour paste. I part flour to one part water. Dot it along your strips with a paint brush. Then, proceed as directed above. The flour will dissolve just fine.

    • Hi Leslie – Thank you for sharing your wonderful idea! Using a flour paste is awesome if you are going to store the seed tape for a bit, or for immediate planting. I use the water spray method if I need to make some seed tapes in a hurry right before planting. It’s just a bit faster than making the paste.

      The good thing about using the paste is you know the seeds will not move around, and you don’t really need to do the extra folds like I did in this. :)

  6. charlotte says:

    that seed tape idea A++!

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