Introduction: Make Your Own Seed Tapes

Seed Tapes are an efficient work saver in the garden but they get so expensive sometimes that I have taken to making my own to save money too.

This is a fun project for the whole family to get in on, when my kids were too young to handle garden tools they had fun making them and it made them feel that they were an important part of things around the house.

I also like to do these at my leisure over the winter months to get ready for spring and summer plantings and get a jump on the growing season..

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

Any kind of Seeds
Zip lock Baggies or plastic containers - each one marked for what type of seed tape it is in it
1 Tbl Corn Starch
1 C Cold Water
Paper Towels, cut in 1 1/2 - 2 inch Strips and folded in half
Any squeeze type bottle, (you can wash and use an empty mustard or ketchup bottle)
A drop of food coloring (optional)

Step 2: Prepare Your 'Seed Glue'

Dissolve Cornstarch in Water over a medium heat until it boils and thickens. Mixture should look opaque and cling slightly to a fork before dripping off.

Let it cool and transfer into squeeze bottle add 1 drop of food coloring and shake the bottle to make your 'Glue Dots' easier to see.

Step 3: Prepare Your 'Seed Tape'

Lay out Paper Towel Strips, and place dots across one side of the fold with the cornstarch mixture spacing the dots according to the planting directions of the Seed Packets.

I am using Blanket Flower Seeds for this project.

Step 4: Add Your Seeds

Place seeds on top of the dots, fold other half of paper towel on top and let it dry completely.

Store in a plastic bag or container until you are ready to plant. (I like to keep mine in the bottom drawer of the fridge).

Drop the seed packet with instructions in with your seed tapes for future reference.

Comments

author
oldgal66 (author)2016-01-30

Going to make these for use in my strawbale garden. Much easier than direct seeding

author
MelissaMcGhie (author)2013-09-28

Hi,

How much ahead of time can I make the Seed Glue? Thanks!

author
ClareBS (author)2010-08-30

Last night I made some seed tape. This morning I looked on Instructables to see if one had been posted and found your excellent Instructable. I used four squares of toilet paper, folded it up the long way until I could cut it in half easily to make two long strips. Because my husband is on a gluten free diet and we don't have any wheat flour in the house I made paste out of rice flour. I think any flour or starch powder would work. I love the idea of cornstarch in a squeeze bottle. How long does the cornstarch liquid keep? I put dots on the toilet paper with a toothpick and with the wet end of the toothpick pick up a seed. Wet on wet sort of works like a magnet, the seed lets go when it hits the paste on the paper. After making a whole strip I fold the paper in half and press down to hold the seeds in place then roll up loosely. I think the seed tape works best for small seeds like carrot and radish which are planted fairly close together. It is easy just to plant the strip and not worry about thinning seedlings. Almost every one germinates.

author
greenpixi (author)2010-08-03

This is awesome. Once I have a space to really garden, I'm definitely going to use an idea like this.

author
satchid (author)2009-08-17

Hi, wonderful idea, I am square foot gardening (www.squarefootgardening.com) and I needed a system like this urgently. I will use serviettes of about 1 foot square, the put the dots on it as required for that particular plant and then put another serviette on top. This than will be folded in 4 after drying and kept in a dry place till needed. Great idea.

author
Deewheat (author)2009-07-27

Excellent idea!

author
sonipitts (author)2009-07-26

I did this one year with carrot seeds, mainly because the little buggers are a bear to plant by hand. I used Elmers (which is non-toxic and bio-degradable) and they came up beautifully. I'll have to try the cornstarch glue next time.

author
DebH57 (author)sonipitts2009-07-26

What a great idea, I would have never thought of Elmers glue, I will have to try your method too. Thanks!

author
kimndaisy (author)2009-07-25

Very cool~ you got my vote

author
hsmomof2 (author)2009-07-25

This is so neat! I would never have thought to do something like this.

author
DebH57 (author)hsmomof22009-07-25

You might want to try it with your kids Hsmom it's a fun project

author
Claude3 (author)2009-07-23

HI...I saw an idea like this but they used 2" strips of toilet paper that was folded into 1" strips. I thought it was a good idea but did not use it until I started planting CARROT seed and then wished that I had. You say you keep finished strips in the fridge. Some seed needs to be soaked overnight before planting. I wonder if using this cornstarch glue would soften the hull of the seed..and so start the decomposition of the hull...what do you think?

author
DebH57 (author)Claude32009-07-23

Since the cornstarch is mixed with water it is highly possible Claude but I couldn't say for sure because you only use drops and it dries fairly fast. I think it would be a try it and see type thing.

author
im4tooele (author)2009-07-22

I could probably do that.

author
DebH57 (author)im4tooele2009-07-23

It's pretty easy Im4 you should give it a shot

author
chauntee2 (author)2009-07-20

I want to get the kids into plantin;)

author
DebH57 (author)chauntee22009-07-23

It's a good way to get them going Chauntee

author
Donaldhrtc (author)2009-07-20

Thanks for the idea

author
DebH57 (author)Donaldhrtc2009-07-23

You are welcome thanks for the coment

author
juvinurse (author)2009-07-20

WOW...this is a wonderful and easy idea!

author
DebH57 (author)juvinurse2009-07-20

Yes and the kids have fun doing it too. Thanks for commenting.

author
GloriaJ (author)2009-07-20

I made a few of these for friends to include in a birthday card. Gret idea.

author
DebH57 (author)GloriaJ2009-07-20

Thanks Gloria!

author
JohnMac (author)2009-07-20

Best of luck!

author
jakezcop (author)2009-06-18

this is really cool, ive also seen where people make home made paper, and they put plant seeds into that too, then they just cut up the paper and plant it :D

author
DebH57 (author)jakezcop2009-06-18

Yes Jake I did an Instructable on that subject too:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Paper-That-Grows-Recycle-Renew-and-Plant--1/

Thanks for commenting.

author
jakezcop (author)DebH572009-06-18

ha ha oh sorry, i didnt really look around, it was just on the top of my head :D

author
DebH57 (author)jakezcop2009-06-18

LOL NP Jake, great minds think alike.

author
jakezcop (author)DebH572009-06-18

ha ha i guess they do! meh names not jake either lol :P

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DebH57 (author)jakezcop2009-06-18

LOL ok what is it?

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jakezcop (author)DebH572009-06-18

heh my names Adam, jakezcop's my last name backwards :D

author
DebH57 (author)jakezcop2009-06-19

LOL ok now how do you pronounce it?

author
jakezcop (author)DebH572009-06-19

its pronounced poe-check-eye :D its actually polish and it means to wait :P dunno how we got it! lol

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DebH57 (author)jakezcop2009-06-20

So then does that mean you are a patient person?

author
jakezcop (author)DebH572009-06-26

surprisingly for a 14 year old yes im very patient lol.

author
DebH57 (author)jakezcop2009-06-26

LOL Adam, you are mature beyond your years, nixw to know you!

author
jakezcop (author)DebH572009-06-27

HAHA i dont know if MATURE is quite the right word :D

author
JohnMac (author)2009-06-24

Very clever idea.

author
DebH57 (author)JohnMac2009-06-25

Thanks John

author
sugarego (author)2009-06-24

hi there. the idea certainly seems cool as a way to kill time when it's rainy, or involve your kids in a crafty endeavor. but even after reading through all the comments, including the one by dmcunningham, i still don't really understand how this would save time. it seems more laborious to have to dig a hole and then make sure the whole paper towel is underneath soil (and it seems too easy to plant them too deep) rather than either (a) sprinkle seeds on bare soil and then sprinkle a quarter inch of soil (or however much is needed) to cover them, or (b) just wet your index finger, stick a seed to it, then push the seed down into the soil. but truthfully, i've had way more luck with seeds growing when i sprinkled them on top of the soil and left them uncovered. they seem to work their way down into soil on their own when water is applied, whereas when i try to put them down the correct depth, many of them end up too deep to germinate. maybe we are just planting different types of plants, or maybe i just need a bit more gardening experience. okay, sidetracked a bit, but... i think it's awesome you make your own strips, rather than paying the high cost they charge for the pre-made strips, that's for sure. i guess i'm just not seeing why the strips were even invented in the first place.

author
DebH57 (author)sugarego2009-06-24

If your seed packet instructions call for spreading them on the ground and just covering them up thats all you need to do - there would be no need to dig a hole. As for wetting my finger and pushing the seed in the soil that would do for the first seed but I wouldn't want to put my finger back in my mouth after that. If you have ever planted a large area then you know how it affects your back when doing it all by hand and the more your back aches the more it slows you down, for me and my back it's a great time saver. If you haven't planted a large area then it is kind of hard to relate to - unless you have experienced labor pains in your back - it feels about the same. I would love to be able to use your method of just sprinkling them and leave them uncovered, OMG that would be so easy if it weren't for the birds who come to steal anything they think might grow in my yard lol. I appreciate your insight and comments, thanks.

author
AvAngel (author)2009-06-21

Looks easy enough, I will try it.

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james.mcglashan (author)AvAngel2009-06-24

easy enough how hard does it have to be for u not to do it lol????

author
AvAngel (author)james.mcglashan2009-06-24

It never ceases to amaze me how people who possess a total lack of reading comprehension skills will strive to further to prove their ignorance by asking questions of the obvious that was already answered had they bothered to actually read the whole thing and then remove all doubt about their intelligence by posting a snide comment and think its funny.

author
james.mcglashan (author)2009-06-24

will u get the seed out when u need it or will u have the paper brack down as compost?

author
DebH57 (author)james.mcglashan2009-06-24

You plant it paper towel and all James.

author
LazyDaisy (author)2009-06-21

This seems pretty interesting to me, I'm all for saving time and backaches. Is there a limit to how large of an area you can cover with these?

author
DebH57 (author)LazyDaisy2009-06-24

No Daisy you can use as many or few of them as you need.

author
Bratillia (author)2009-06-22

Great idea DebH

author
DebH57 (author)Bratillia2009-06-24

Thanks Bratty

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