Making Seed Tape

It’s cold again today, so I decided to do some prep work for the garden. I made some seed tape with some lettuce seeds. I have not made seed tape before but I know the theory.

Last year I planted lettuce for the first time and it did really well. I think we ate lettuce every day till it bolted. But one of the proplems that I had was that lettuce seed is really small and I am not a patient person. After attempting to plant them spaced out, I finaly got so frustrated that I just tossed the seeds into the bed and raked it lightly. I figured that I could thin it out when the seeds started to grow. Nah… That didn’t happen. Being the over-loving gardener I am, I could not bring myself to abort the baby plants, even though I knew it would be for the greater good of the bed.

I ended up with way more lettuce than I needed and plants that were stunted.

So this year, I thought I would try making seed tape. So I started with a small paper bag, a packet of seeds and a little flour paste. Flour paste is easy to make. Little bit of water, little bit of flour, mix into a thin paste.

I used Mesclun Spicy Mix from Burpee. Last year I used a gourmet lettuce mix, which was good, but I like to mix it up a bit from year to year.

As you can see in the pic, the lettuce seeds are pretty tiny.


I cut the paper bag into strips

I put drops of flour paste on the strips at the prescribed planting distance and placed a seed on each drop. Then I let the strips dry. The seeds are then stuck to the paper strips.

The next warm day we get, I will plant them in the ground. Just lay them out and cover with a little dirt. I may make some more of these with carrots and radishes later. I want to see how it works first.

UPDATE 4/9/06: The lettuce was sprouting so this works. I will be doing the radish this week.

13 thoughts on “Making Seed Tape
  1. Francisco Canaro on

    I did the same thing with a 1″ bit of paper cut out of the fold of a newspaper. I put the folded bit in a groove cut in a two by four, then put on some watered down wood glue (not waterproof)

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  2. Joe Wilson on

    If that the same Susan on all the other diy seed tape posts on the net that I checked out, you been spammed.. Well I like your way of doing this better, and I also tried lettuce and it worked for me too… I’ve seen other posts using elmers glow and thought that can’t be good for the plants.. and others using toilet paper, and thought that would be a bit hard to keep together.. but your way is more environmentally friendly .thanks..

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  3. Barbara on

    WOW, when those seed catalogs start rolling in this makes a great early Spring kids’ project!

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  4. Anne Robinson on

    The seeds don’t germinate from the wet paste because the paste dries quickly. Most seeds need a soaking and/or continual moisture over time to germinate.

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  5. Tim Charney on

    Are they any chemicals is a brown paper lunch bag that would cause any harm? What about newspaper or toilet paper? Thanks!

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  6. Jenny on

    Just a thought (from a nerdy Accountant) – I am making my own seed tape using rolls of paper intended for my adding machine! They are available made from recycled paper, in packs of 12 for VERY little $ at office supply stores. They don’t require cutting but could be cut lengthwise (in half) if you want to be frugal. Thanks for the article!

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  7. whynot on

    Could you use the glue stick type glue? I want to try this this week.
    Thanks

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  8. Kerri on

    I’ve only learned about being able to do this for myself and saving the big money the stores charge for this type of thing.

    I learned to do this with Toilet Paper and with what I learned hauling all types of paper I would say that is the purist paper to use. Cardboard and paper bags are made of a certain amount of recycled paper and that needs to have the inks removed, using something I’m sure. Toilet paper is made from fresh wood chips (cotton wood trees usually) and though there maybe some “bleaching” of the fibers it is made for sensitive areas of the body. I also will say don’t use colored TP or with additives like lotions etc.

    As for the “glue” all paper uses some starch but that is usually a potato based starch, so just flour and water is just simple.

    I also used an eyedropper and dropped the flour glue for the seed but did extra drops at the edge of the cut to 1/2 high TP and glued that too.

    Looking forward to my carrots and parsnips coming up! And everything else also of course.

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  9. Hanna: I am a first time veggie gardener, and I think your idea of making your own seed tape is fantastic! I was looking into purchasing pre-made seed tape, but after reading your article, plus all the comments, I’ve decided to go ahead and make a few myself. I live in Zone 6 (MA), so I’m going to give this a go for late August planting. I am looking forward to watching the lettuce grow for Autumn harvesting. Thanks again for a wonderful idea!

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  10. ALICIA on

    I NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING BEFORE…MAN LIFE JUST GOT EASIER…WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA..THANX

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