by Texas Homesteader ~
I make homemade seed tape quickly and easily using only a packet of seeds and common household items. Easy, fast and cheap! And it really speeds up garden planting too. Perfect seed spacing with no waste.
Planting Garden Vegetable Seeds
This year my pre-gardening tasks really got away from me. I usually start my heirloom seeds for my vegetable garden in late January using my Indoor Greenhouse.
That way actual seedlings are ready for me to place in the garden as soon as the average date for the last killing frost passes. Here in hardiness zone 8a, that’s around Easter each year.
Delayed Seed Starting
But familial illness required my full attention elsewhere this year. Planting seeds for my indoor greenhouse got delayed, then delayed again, then again. Until soon I was well past the point of planting and growing seedlings inside.
So this year I decided I would need to direct seed the garden. But in NE Texas, those early spring days are mighty windy.
It sure makes planting difficult to try to take a handful of seed packets out to the garden, attempt to sprinkle a few tiny seeds in my hand and using proper spacing place them in the ground without my seeds, packets and supplies blowing around. So frustrating!
I’d been interested in making my own seed tape for years. This year was the perfect opportunity for me to take the plunge.
Benefits of Seed Tape
Seed tape is just a strip of thin paper with seeds properly spaced and stuck onto that paper. The premise is that you simply roll the tape out over the soil and sprinkle more soil on top of the seed tape. Done & DONE!
There are many benefits of using homemade seed tape.
- Homemade is cheaper than purchased seed tape.
- It’s simple to make using items already in your home.
- Make only as much seed tape as you actually need. No having to store excess tape from year to year.
- Seeds are spaced exactly as the seed packet recommends. No more spilling tiny seeds into a long line and then pulling out extra seedlings as they emerge. Fewer wasted seeds and simplified maintenance and thinning too.
- Seed tape can be made in advance so actual garden planting goes fast. Even on windy days!
How To Make Natural Seed Tape ‘Glue’
Before you begin you’ll need a way to affix your seeds to your homemade seed tape. I make a natural ‘glue’ of sorts. It couldn’t be easier and it uses only flour and water.
Into a small stainless condiment cup I start with a tablespoon of flour and add about 1-1/2 teaspoons of water and stir. I’ll add more water or flour as needed to get a consistency similar to glue.
You want it just thick enough to not drip freely from the applicator. Why yes I’m using a stainless kabob skewer for my applicator, why do you ask?
Now armed with my garden vegetable seed packets and my homemade seed tape glue, I’m ready to make those seed tapes!
Making Homemade Seed Tape
Making homemade seed tape really couldn’t be easier. Here’s what I do:
First I decide how much seed tape I’ll need for each type of seed I’m planting. I started with my carrots, I planned on planting two 3′ rows on either side of my Garden Trough Raised Bed.
So I measured out a 3-ft length of toilet paper to make my carrot seed tapes.
Then I cut that strip of toilet paper in half lengthwise to make two thinner strips. To make cutting that 3-ft long strip of toilet paper easy I simply folded the squares until I got a manageable width. Then with one or two snips of the scissors I was done.
Now that I’ve cut that long strip in half I’m left with two 3-ft long strips about two inches wide. I’m ready to turn each strip into a carrot-planting seed tape.
Placing Seeds On Seed Tape
First I checked the seed packet recommendation for planting space. For my carrots it was recommend to leave 2 to 3 inches between seeds planted. So I used a yellow highlighter and a ruler to make properly-spaced marks on my seed tape.
Using my homemade glue l dabbed a light drop of the ‘glue’ on the marked areas. You don’t want to go too heavily here. Just use enough glue to anchor the seed in place.
Then I placed a tiny carrot seed on each of those spaces.
After I’ve added the seeds I like to fold the seed tape in half, thereby enveloping the seed in paper. I also write the veggie type right on the seed tape.
Sometimes I place a drop of homemade glue on the edges of that folded seed tape to keep everything tidy. Then I set it aside to dry so that the glue that soaks through the tissue doesn’t stick the seed tapes together.
Planting The Garden Seed Tapes
You can plant your seed tape immediately. Or you can allow it to dry completely and tuck it away for planting in the following days.
To plant my garden seed tapes I took them out to the garden along with a handful of fist-sized rocks to help with the windy conditions. I anchored one end of the carrot seed tape with a rock and then stretched the tape along the length I was wanting to plant. I placed another rock in the middle and the final rock at the end of my seed tape.
Then I take a few handfuls of soil and lightly cover the seed tape to the depth mentioned on my seed packet (you can write this on your seed tape too for ease in planting).
I remove the rocks and pat the dirt gently but firmly to make sure the seed tape is covered and in good contact with the soil.
Before I cover everything I’ll typically place a stick marker where the seed was planted. This helps me know exactly where the seed will be popping up, assuring I don’t accidentally pull it as a weed.
It also helps me know where to direct the water flow when the plant is growing. (especially helpful with vining plants like pumpkin, cantaloupe or watermelon.)
Now I’ll add a fine sprinkling of stemmy spent hay from the hay rings. This helps assure those tiny seeds don’t accidentally get dislodged if a hard rain comes in the next few days. Plus it preserves moisture both now & in the future.
Finally a gentle sprinkle of water from the watering can to get things started. I’ll make sure the planted bed stays lightly moist to get those seeds going strong!
Notes About Seed Tape
There are a few things to remember when making your own seed tape.
- First, lighter-weight toilet paper works better than the heavy stuff. Because we have a septic system we already use a lightweight septic-safe bathroom tissue – Angel Soft brand. I’ve read that those heavier bathroom tissues make it harder for your little seedling to emerge. So lighter-weight bathroom tissues are better.
- When using your glue to place your seeds, only use as much as you need to actually affix the seed. Especially if you’ll be waiting to plant your seed tape, you don’t want excess moisture here – just enough to keep your seed in place. Don’t worry it doesn’t take much.
- Be sure not to stack freshly-made seed tapes on top of each other. That homemade glue will almost certainly have soaked through some places. Stacking freshly-made tapes could cause them to be glued together in spots. You don’t want that aggravation!
My Seed Tape Needs Each Year
Some vegetables are better direct-seeded into the garden. For instance, carrots don’t transplant well and must be planted directly in the garden instead.
So even if I do get the chance to plant my indoor greenhouse next year I’ll be making up seed tapes for those veggies that are better direct seeded. Especially the tiny seeds like carrots and lettuces.
The biggest beauty of this homemade seed tape – I can make them in the cold of winter, on rainy days or even after dark when that ‘spare moment’ hits.
They’ll be ready when I need them. Garden convenience in its best form, gotta love it. #WorkSmarterNotHarder
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Using Vining Plants For Living Mulch
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- Keeping Potted Plants Watered
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- The Lazy Gardener’s Plant List – Plant Once, Eat For Years!
- How To Tell When Watermelon Is Ripe
- Luffa A Surprising Zucchini Substitute!
- How To Make Your Own Garden Soil
C’mon by & sit a spell! Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing! You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.
If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to
Subscribe to our blog!