17 March 2014

31 Days of MOO No. 17 - Seed Tapes

A great part of the gardening and growing your own food experience is growing your plants from seed.

Seeds are not very expensive, but they need to be spaced at regular intervals and buried at a particular depth. That's great, except that seeds are small, some smaller than others.

And that makes it hard to plant them. Until now you've probably done your best, thinning the tiny seedlings when they appear. That's a painful job, it takes time, is messy and you risk losing plants.

Not any more! This is the simplest, easiest and most accurate way to plant those tiny seeds according to the guide on the packet. Try it once and you'll be converted.

Seed tapes. Yes, simple paper tapes with those pesky but essential little seeds evenly spaced and stuck on them that you plant neatly in the garden. No need for thinning!

You will need:
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp water
Toilet paper
Seeds of your choice

Step 1.  Start by making your flour and water paste. You'll use this to stick the seeds to the paper. Mix the flour and water in small dish (I use a dipping/sauce dish) to a paste.

Step 2. Tear off a length of good old Aldi toilet paper. I tear it as long as the kitchen table, simply because that's the surface I work on. You could make it longer if you worked on the floor or had a lovely, long kitchen bench. You can measure the length of your row or bed and make the strip of toilet paper the same length if you want to. Actually thinking about it, that would be the smart thing to do!

Step 3.  Fold the paper in half lengthwise.

Step 4. Measure the spacing for your seeds. Get your seed packet. I'm planting radishes for Hannah. Did you know radishes will grow all year round here in Melbourne? And they grow quickly, so using seed tapes will make progressive planting easy - make the tapes all at once, then stagger the planting. In this case the radish seeds need to be spaced at 5cm intervals so I've used a Sharpie to mark the spots.  Put a little bit of the paste on the paper at each dot.

Step 5.  Take a seed and drop it onto the paste.

Step 6.  Let the paste dry. When the paste has dried you can roll the strip of seed tape up loosely. Use masking tape to keep it rolled, it doubles as a label. Or use a paper clip to keep it together and a slip of paper to label it.

To use, check the depth the seeds need to be planted at, dig a trench to that depth the length of your seed tape. Lay the seed tape in the trench, cover lightly with the soil/potting mix and water in. You might like to mark the end of each row so you know where to plant the next strip.

Seed taps are so handy. Get them ready over winter for spring planting, and do a few of each type so you're ready for succession planting without having to worry about spacing seeds or thinning seedlings.

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  1. Hi Cath, im new to your blog. Ive made my way over from Gavin's. I have posted a link to the above article. I dont know why i didnt think of this myself but there you go. Cheers Cath - im going over to The Cheapstakes Club to check it out.

  2. Welcome Lynda, thanks for the link.

  3. Cath, im not sure what the correct protocol is. Is it OK to post links when you come across something to share with your own readers? I always give credit where credit is due and i always include my own experience. What's you take of this. Ive already had positive response to the above from my US readers.

    1. Lynda my personal view is it's perfectly OK, and a huge compliment, to have someone post a link back to an article if it has the due credit. And thank you for asking, that's another compliment.


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