Friday, March 20, 2009

Planting with home made Seed Tape

Sometimes I have a hard time planting the tiny seeds without wasting to many seeds. It is really hard to spread the small seeds at a proper distance, often you can't even see where you put them. I hate to waste so many seeds, but even more annoying is the extra work I have, having to pull the excess seedlings to make room for the ever growing plants.

When I still lived in Germany, 25 years ago, they sold many varieties of vegetables in Seed tape. It was a fleece type paper, similar to tissue paper which easily dissolved once planted.
It was so easy to plant. You just tore the right amount off and laid it in proper distance on the bed, spread some soil on top. Done!

In my early gardening days in the US, I often looked for Seed Tape in the plant catalogs, never found it until a few years ago.
Some things just take a long time to make their entrance to the US.
We are such a progressive country, for some reason we are often behind the rest of the world in new things.
For just a few years you finally can find Seed Tapes in a few catalogs, very few catalogs that is. But they have such a small amount of seed varieties offered that it is hardly worth bothering with it. Especially for gardeners which like Heirloom Vegetables.

Luckily they are easy to make yourself. All you need is some tissue like paper. Toilet paper works well, I like to use commercial type paper towels, like they often have in restaurants bathrooms.
Then you need some glue, like Elmer's Glue or you can do what I do, just boil some Cornstarch in water until it is thick like glue, it works just as well and there are no chemicals involved.
I don't have exact measurements for it because I just mix a little Cornstarch in water, cook it and if not thick to my liking I add some more Cornstarch and repeat. Just remember not to get it too thick, because it has to be able to come out of a squeeze bottle. After it cools down a bit transfer to an old glue bottle and you are set.
To make the Seed tape, I put little dabs of the glue mix in the right distance for the seeds to grow. I seed mine a bit closer, just to make sure I have enough sprouting. Rarely all the seeds will sprout, and the few extra seedlings I just pull when needed.

Then I put the seeds on the little daps of glue and cover the sheet with another paper towel, labeled with the varieties name, so I don't confuse the plants.
Now all you have to do let them dry, fold them up and next time you get out to the garden, lay them on the prepared garden bed, cover with a bit of soil and you are done planting.

The nice thing about it is, that when the weather is too rainy to go outside to plant, you can prepare the seed tape inside, knowing once the rain has stopped, you quickly can plant your seeds.

So after I made these seed tapes, I found this product on the web.
Make your own seed tape, just like the Seed tape I knew in Germany. You just add your own seeds. I think I will order some of that.
Go figure, I have been looking for that for such a long time and right after I make my own, there it is.


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