I recently interviewed a great guest on the Vegetable Gardening podcast, master gardener Diana Stoll. In the episode we talked about a blog post she wrote titled, On winter days, make seed tapes, where she gave a step by step tutorial on how to create your own seed tape. While reading it I did some research on seed tape and saw that seed paper was virtually the same concept, so, using Diana’s expertise, I decided to give making seed paper a go.
I decided to follow the basic instructions that Diana outlined. I substituted Elmer’s glue (since I had it handy) for the homemade glue using the flour.
Seed Paper Supplies
I used radish seeds that we sent out in the Seeds of the Month Club, Diana used carrot seeds. I found that using seeds for root crops was a great choice when it came to making the seed paper. The reason being, since root crops need space, using this seed paper, which spaces the seeds out evenly, is ideal for their growing needs.
I stayed with the suggestion of using toilet paper. After trying different types of paper, such as loose leaf, newspaper, and cardboard to name a few, I found that the toilet paper broke down the fastest and was easier to work with than I had first thought. I also had good success when I experimented with paper towels. The paper towels, however, were more expensive. Along with the price I had to do a lot more cutting to get them to fit exactly the way I wanted.
Diana, in her seed tape tutorial, used a homemade mixture of flour and water to create a glue. If you have ever done any paper mache, you know this recipe well. I, on the other hand, had a bottle of Elmer’s glue conveniently handy, so I used that instead. It is a non toxic variety that my kids use all the time for their craft projects, so I wasn’t worried about what it would do to the radish seeds.
I used my tape measure to mark out the spacing in between the radish seeds. The variety of radish seeds that you'll see in the video, Comet, grow better when they are spaced out somewhere between 2 and 4 inches. I split the difference and measured out a 3 inch spacing. As a side note, a ruler would work just as well as the tape measure.
I used a pencil to mark where you will place the glue and seeds. It happened to be nearby. If a pen were closer, I am sure I would have used the pen instead.
The scissors can be used to cut the paper to size so that the final seed paper will fit nicely in your garden bed. You'll notice in the video that I used the scissors more as a paper weight than using them to cut. You could also just use your hands to rip the paper, but that makes the ends look messy, in my opinion anyway (as you’ll see in the video). I did try to get a bit fancy, and use a utility knife (not shown in the video). That was a big mistake. All that did was shred the paper. That probably had more to do with the blade being old, and user error, than anything else. Off camera, I found that the scissors were the best option when I tried cutting the paper a few different ways. In the video you see me rip it with my hands due to how windy it was outside.
Watch Mike Make Seed Paper
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