Gardening: Make your own seed tape

Spring is almost here…right? Right? We are steadily above freezing, and we can get outside almost everyday now. Which is great, because we were developing a serious case of cabin fever around here. Primarily my two and a half year old.

All those people who compare raising dogs and kids are nutso–they are not at all alike. BUT, there is one truism that applies to both: A tired dog (kid) is a good dog (kid). But that’s where the similarity stops. Especially since an overtired dog is a REALLY good dog, but an overtired kid is a nightmare. There is one more similarity–both my dog and my newly mobile infant spend a lot of time looking for Cheerio snacks on the kitchen floor.

One rainy day last week we filled a morning planning for our garden. We are lucky enough to have a large space and the ability to grow much of our own produce over the summer. The soil is almost workable, which means we can start thinking about getting lettuce, carrots, onions, peas, and spinach into the ground.

Lettuce and carrot seeds are infinitesimally small, and you can easily waste an entire packet trying to plantĀ a small row. Seed tape (a strip of tape with the seeds evenly spaced that can be planted directly in the ground) is a great way to get evenly spaced seedlings that are easy to thin, without wasting all of your seed. But seed tape is more expensive than packet seed, and you can’t get a lot of different vegetable varieties.

But, it is easy to make your own. You need:

A few paper towels
A measuring tape
A fine-tip marker
white glue
tiny seeds of your choice
a tiny dumptruck to help transport seeds from the packet to the paper towel (optional)

1) Cut your paper towel into two inch wide strips. Fold in half length-wise, and open back up. Read the packet for the recommended seed spacing.

2) Measure and mark the paper towel at the recommended seed spacing intervals down the center of one of the halves. Dot each mark with a drop of glue. Immediately place one seed on each drop of glue.

3) Fold paper towel strip in half, and label with seed type.

4) Plant seed tape directly in the ground, at the depth recommended on the seed packet. Keep soil moist until seeds germinate. Follow thinning and care directions on packet.

In about 6 weeks, enjoy a fabulous salad! (Another tip: plant another small row about every two weeks until the weather gets overly warm for a steady supply of salad eats.)


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