Well! This winter was so long. It seems like we may never get into the garden. We’ve ordered all our seeds. We’ve planned all our vegetable garden layout(s). We’ve planned and dreamed all our flower beds in our minds. We’ve designed all the containers at least a thousand times. So what can we do next for our spring gardens? How about making our own seed tapes?
What are seed tapes, you ask. This is a wonderful tool for planting your seeds. The seeds are correctly spaced on a tape that dissipates quickly when planted and watered. This is a great time saver but the best attribute is that it cuts down on thinning which can be time consuming work and offers back bending troubles. Seed tapes can be a little expensive though; however, you can make your own seed tapes. It is a great project for young and old alike and helps pass the time until you can get out there in the garden soil.
Making your own seed tapes is easy and a great way to include your children or grandchildren.
1) One ply toilet tissue
3) old newspaper
4) seeds of your choice
5) school glue (it is water soluble) or your own homemade glue from water and flour or cornstarch and water cooked to glue-like consistency
A good suggestion, especially if you work with children, is to put a drop or two of food coloring into the glue and shake it good. If making your own glue and you are concerned with food colors, then you can use beet juice. The added color will help see the glue against the white tissue.
Lay out the old newspaper to protect your surface.
Use a strip of toilet paper the length you’d like to use. When working with children, 2 ft. is best to work with.
Write the name of the seeds you are using on the end of the strip with a ball point ink pen.
Lay the ruler beside the strip.
Read the back of your seed packet and determine the recommended distance between each seed. For this lesson, we will go with one seed every half-inch.
Place a dot of glue every half inch down the length of the strip.
Place a seed on each dot. Use tweezers, if necessary, for tiny seeds like carrots.
Fold the tissue in half onto itself.
Store in dry place until ready to plant.
Here is a good suggestion… put two rows on the same tape, one row of radish seed and the other row of carrot seed and place another strip of tissue on top. Plant as usual in spring, but the bonus is that once the radishes are harvested, the space will be great for the carrots to expand into without overcrowding.
This is a fun and easy project that will help you to whittle away the time until you can get out there and plant, plant, plant. Good thoughts go your way!
ASK A MASTER GARDENER!
Do you have a gardening question? Submit your gardening questions to the “Aitkin County Extension Master Gardeners” Facebook page.
The Aitkin Independent Age will then publish the responses from the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Aitkin County monthly, starting in April.
Janice Hasselius, originally from Aitkin, has been a University of Minnesota Master Gardener since 2000. She regularly volunteers for writing, teaching classes, and demonstrations on gardening subjects through the University of Minnesota Extension Service.