The thing about life is that it is that it can get really busy. It leaves many of us wishing for more hours in the day, more days in a week and more weeks in a year. It all just seems to fly by without even realizing it. This can be frustrating – especially this time of year when one is a gardener. After all, this is the time when the foundation for the coming year is laid. I am already behind where I would like to be in terms of planting (although this may not be the worst thing ever as it is expected to snow in Berlin this week. grrrr.). A lot of this has to do with the fact that I have to ride an hour with the train to get the the garden and now I have a job and university. Most of the time I don’t mind. It is actually quite a beautiful ride and I can read on the trip, but I had finals last month and there was bad weather on days when I was free and blah blah blah.
But, as they say – adapt or perish. So, I adapted by searching for someway to reduce the amount of time that I require to sow the seeds. Thank goodness for the internet, because it offered me an excellent solution – homemade seed tapes. The whole process ended up being easy peasy lemon squeezy. It was especially amazing as I was able to find napkins that are 30x30cm/12″x12″. They may not be the best choice because they are bleached and whatnot, but they are perfect for the busy lover of square foot gardening.
Here is what you need to do to make your own seed “tape”:
- Choose your seeds. This method does not necessarily work for large seeds – although one could try if they were really inclined. I stuck to carrots, radishes, parsnips, spinach, lettuce, beets and turnips.
- Pick your material to which you will will “glue” your seeds. I used napkins because they were the perfect size, but many people use toilet paper which seems like a really good idea – especially for row gardening.
- Label your tape, but this step could be skipped if one can identify all seeds visually.
- Make a glue of flour and water.
- Mark your spacing for the seeds and dab a bit of your “glue” accordingly.
- Drop your seeds in the glue and wait for it to dry before folding it up and saving for later.
- Whenever you get to your growing space, simply lay the seed tapes down, cover them with soil and water well. Beware of wind when doing this. Dropping a bit of soil on the corners/ends helps keep the tapes in place.
Now I am a seed tape convert. The benefits are great. I was able to simply lay the prepared papers in the garden bed. It took like 15 minutes and it freed me up for other important activities. Plus, the paper fibers act as a biodegradable weed barrier which gives the sown seed a head start. It was, of course, something that required preparation, but it worked and I was able to use my day in the garden the most productively.
So, if you are like most people in the world and are always trying to find a way to make life easier and more efficient (think watching a movie and getting garden work done simultaneously), try making your own seed tape. I highly recommend it.