Cut 1 inch wide strips of newspaper. Dissolve several packages of unflavored gelatin in a small amount of boiling water and let cool to room temperature until it starts to thicken. Using a small paint brush, spread a coat of the gelatin on the newspaper strip.
For tiny seeds like lettuce and carrots, just sprinkle some of the seeds thinly on the strip. Let the completed strip dry thoroughly, mark with the date and type of seeds, roll up loosely, and store in a cool dry place.
For larger seeds like beans, just apply some of the gelatin mixture however many inches the recommended plant spacing for the seeds are. Paint another coat of the gelatin over the seed , again let dry thoroughly, mark, and store in a cool dry place.
Come planting time, just gently unroll your seed tape, water thoroughly, cover with the recommended depth of soil and water again. The single layer of newspaper will hold moisture to help with germination and break down allowing your seeds to root and grow.
By slee15 from Alabama
By Marna from central CT
We just planted radishes and carrots in our garden using seed tapes that we made. Start with a piece of toilet tissue. Length is not important, but 5 sheets long is easy to work with. Cut it into strips about an inch wide. Lay the strips on the table, and measure off in 1 inch increments.
Put a tiny spot of Elmer's glue at each inch mark and, using a toothpick with a little glue, place a seed at each mark. You could make a pencil mark for each inch, but what I did was to lay a ruler down and glue a seed at the inch marks lined up with the ruler.
As they dry, check them often to make sure they are not sticking to the table. When completely dry, roll them up and store them in an old envelope marking the outside with the kind of seed they are: Danvers Half Long Carrots, French Breakfast Radishes, etc.
When you are ready to plant, make a shallow trench and lay them end to end in the trench; then cover them with soil. Pat the soil down and gently water the row. Cover with cardboard strips to keep them from drying out before they can germinate. Check every few days until the sprouts break through the soil; then uncover them. Keep them watered. When you start to harvest them, take every other plant to make room for the others to grow a little bigger.
Step 1: Start by cutting off sections of newspaper into _ to 1-inch wide strips. Steer clear of toxic colored ink that put more unwanted heavy metals into the garden (and your plants).
Step 2: In a plastic bag, mix 1/2 cup of flour and a little water together until the mixture reaches a glue-like consistency (like thick gravy). Expel as much air as possible, reseal the baggie and set the mixture aside for now. This will be the "glue" that will adhere your seeds to the tape. The glue, along with the newspaper, will readily biodegrade as your seed sprouts.
Step 3: Lay the strips of newspaper out flat on a table (laying them across a cookie sheet will make clean-up easier). Using a ruler, mark off the proper spacing for the seeds according to the back of the seed packet. I recommend leaving a little space at one end of each strip to label the tape. If your seeds didn't come in packaging, use a seed catalogue or garden book as a guide to determine spacing.
Step 4: Use the scissors to snip a tiny hole in one corner of the baggie. Start with small seeds and a very small hole at first. You can always make the hole bigger as you graduate to larger seeds. Use the baggie like a pastry bag and dab small globs of glue along the pre-marked spots on each tape. Do one tape at a time to prevent the "glue" from drying too quickly. Place a seed on the top of each glob and if necessary, use a toothpick to gently press it into the "glue."
Step 5: After the glue has dried, roll up the tapes and place them in individually marked plastic bags. Keep the bags in a cool, dark place until you're ready to plant them. You can make sure the seeds stay dry by adding a small amount of salt to each bag. When it's time to plant, simply unroll the tapes and place them seed side up in pre-dug rows. Cover them with soil and water just like you would if you were sowing seeds freely.
Take advantage of the precision of seed tapes and use them to create straight, perfectly spaced rows-or lay them out in crazy patterns. Create flags, checkerboards, and geometric patterns of color. Write your name in flowers or plant a flag for the fourth of July. The tapes can be cut and arranged any way you choose so you're only limited by your imagination.
Whether planting vegetables or flowers, seed tapes will help free up time and money during spring planting by helping conserve expensive seeds, maximizing garden space and reducing the amount of thinning you'll have to do later.
By Ellen Brown
Dissolve cornstarch and water in saucepan
Put pan over heat and stir so mixture wont get lumpy. When the mixture begins to boil and thicken remove from heat and let cool.
Cut paper towels lengthwise in one-inch-wide strips. Using a ruler mark with your pencil the recommended spacing between plants.
When the cornstarch has cooled, spoon into freezer bag. Force the mixture into one corner of the freezer bag & snip the tip. Squeeze the bag to place a dot of cornstarch at every pencil mark on paper towels.
Place your seeds at every dot of cornstarch, let the seed tape dry for an hour or so.
Roll up and store in plastic bag until ready to plant.
When you are ready to plant, cover tape with soil and water thoroughly!