A Lesson in Efficiency: DIY Seed Tape

I am always looking for ways to cut down my time spent doing things that could be consolidated.  Take planting seeds for example.  Conventional wisdom has taught that you either direct seed and must thin seedlings later, or use transplants.  I do not have enough space to grow everything under a light for 6 weeks or more and then move them to the garden, so I am left with the former option to direct seed many of the plants we use on the farm.

When you are direct seeding by hand or with a seeder you inevitably use more seeds than you need which means in two to four weeks when everything is growing you have to pick which plants stay and which ones don’t.  This is also very time consuming as you have to do this by hand. It is as if you have to plant these seeds all over again and if you are planting a good size amount (24 sq ft or more) the repetitive actions can take a toll on your arms and wrists.

In comes seed tape.

You can cut it to size, you don’t have to thin or worry about over seeding, and it makes perfect rows every single time.  I picked up a few of these from Home Depot and put them out in the farm and was stunned at how fast I could sow lettuce seeds.  The only downside was you got less seeds and it cost about double for the same variety.  (Lettuce packets were a dollar and the seed tape was almost three.)  Purchasing seed tape like that would’ve been unwise financially so I started looking for alternatives.

While planting the tape I noticed that it almost felt like toilet paper in consistency.  I wondered if I could make some.  Turns out there were all kinds of ways to make seed tape.

There are many different ways to make it in terms of bonding material (glue)  and the material for the actual tape, but I chose a method that you can do right in your own home without making a trip to the store.


Toilet Paper

Flour or Cornstarch


And Seeds of course.

You also need a cup, water, and perhaps scissors. 

First things first, cut the toilet paper into two strips. (It can be as long or as short as you want.)

Next you will need to mix water and flour in a cup until it about the consistency of thick gravy.

Then, take your pencil and dip it into the flour mix and make little globs at the final spacing required on the seed packet.  (For the example, those are radish seeds and their final spacing after thinning would be 1-2″.)

Next, place one seed on one glob.

Fold the piece of toilet paper on top of the seeds and press gently down.

That’s it!  You can either directly plant them in the garden or do like I did and let them air dry and place the seed tape in a plastic bag for the next time I need to plant radishes.

Back to the Farm,

Farmer Tuley

About ideadonnafarm

I am the resident farmer for IDEA Public Schools in Donna, Texas. I, along with the students, tend an acre right on the school grounds. The things I grow go straight to the students plate, fresh and healthy. This blog is about the projects, ideas (pun), and all around happenings on the IDEA Donna farm. If you live in the area and want to help out, feel free to email me at justin.tuley@ideapublicschools.org.
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1 Response to A Lesson in Efficiency: DIY Seed Tape

  1. Ruth says:

    I’m going o try this. I hate thinning. Thanks Justin.

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