Homemade Seed Tape

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Some seeds are so small and hard to handle that you end up wasting more than you plant, or planting them so close that they need to be thinned heavily. But, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. You can make you own homemade seed tape with toilet paper and a little bit of honey. The homemade version works just as well as the commercial ones for a lot less money.

Here’s how to make them.

1.) Start with a strip of toilet paper the length of the row you want to plant. If that is too long lengths of 12 to 18-inches is very workable and useable in a garden bed. Spread the toilet paper out flat being careful not to tear it then fold it in half length-wise. After you have creased the TP it can be unfolded to lay flat. Single or double-ply will work, but the single-ply works best because smaller seeds can root through the single layer, plus it decomposes faster. Also try to avoid scented and colored TP as it only adds chemicals to the soil.

2.) Mix about a teaspoon of honey with several drops of warm water to thin it out. The number of seed strips you are making will determine how much honey you will need. Using a small spoon, popsicle stick or paint brush gently spread a thin layer of the honey mixture down the middle of one of the folded sides of TP. Be careful not to press too hard or you will tear the TP.

3.) Before the honey dries, sprinkle an evenly spaced row of seeds down the line of honey. Check each seed packet for the recommended seed spacing. If shaking seeds out of the packet proves too difficult simply pour them into your hand or into a small bowl and place them one at a time onto the TP.

4.) Now fold the unseeded edge of the tape onto the seeded side and gently press so the honey can “glue” the two sides together. The long continuous line of honey will help keep the seeds from slipping out of place.

5.) Using a fine pen gently write the seed name, plant height, row spacing and date seed tape was made onto one edge of the seed tape. Be careful not to tear the tape. Including the plant height and row spacing will help when laying out your garden bed.

6.) After preparing the garden bed lay seed tape in desired location. Cover tape with a light peat moss mixture to the depth recommended on the seed packet. Water and keep moist as with direct sown seeds, especially after seeds have sprouted. The toilet paper tape will protect seeds from birds and small animals and from being blown away by the wind or washed away by rain or sprinklers.

The toilet paper quickly and easily decomposes never to be seen again and what remains is a perfectly laid out garden bed.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Minneapolis.Metblogs

4 Responses to “Homemade Seed Tape”

  1. Bitsy says:

    Fabulous idea! I so wish I had known of this idea a few weeks ago when I was laboriously planting carrot seeds.

  2. Author says:

    With successive planting all season long there’s still time to try this new trick for planting tiny seeds.

  3. marj says:

    doesn’t the honey attract ants later in the soil?

  4. jenn says:

    The honey dissipates as the tape breaks down so you shouldn’t see much increase in the ant population. But, if you do encounter ants that isn’t entirely a bad thing. Ants impact soil conditions in a huge way, from moving and churning up soil to increasing nutrients in the soil. They are also predators, eating many organisms that can effect plants and other beneficial insects. So, lay the tape, enjoy the veggies and watch the ants improve your soil!

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