how to check your seed without hacks

Make Your Own Seed Tape

Making your own seed tape can save you time, ensures your plants are spaced out correctly, and is a great “rainy day” project for kids.

OK, I’ll admit it. Up until now I haven’t appreciated the usefulness of seed tapes. Assuming the store carries them at all, the variety selection is extremely limited. When it comes to spacing the seeds and rows in my raised beds, I’m a gardening perfectionist–always trying to get nice, neat, perfectly spaced rows of seeds. Not only that, having to thin out perfectly good seedlings is always a painful experience. Since it is now time to plant fall carrots in our area, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try the seed tape thing out. The following project will yield 2-4 seed tapes, about an inch wide. You can certainly vary this, to make whatever spacing configuration you need.

The list of things you’ll need:

1. Flour
2. Water
3. Scissors
4. Toilet paper (paper towels or white party streamers can also be used)
5. Ruler
6. Pencil
7. Small paintbrush
8. Seeds
9. Small bowl
10. Plate

Airtight bag or container

Skill Level:


1. In a small bowl or container, mix the flour and water until a thick paste forms. You’re aiming for the consistency of white craft glue or syrup. It should be thick enough to sit on the end of your brush or pencil without dripping.

2. Cut the toilet paper in half, at the length you need. The toilet paper is twice the width you need, so by cutting it in half down the middle, you’ll have 2 tapes already measured, or 4 tapes if the paper is two-ply.

3. Use a pencil and ruler to draw marks on the paper according to the seed packet’s spacing recommendations.

4. Place the seeds you’ll be using on a clean plate and spread them apart so they’re easier to pick up.

5. Using the small paintbrush, put small ‘dots’ or dollops of the paste along one side of the toilet paper strip, on the marks you made.

6. Use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to stick one or two seeds to each dot.

7. Fold the other half of the toilet paper over, on top of the seeds. This will seal the seeds inside your seed tape until they’re in the ground and ready to germinate. The paste will also keep the paper sealed.

8. Allow the tape to dry, then write the plant and variety name on it.

At this point your seed tape is ready to go. If it’s not planting time when you’re finished, you’ll need to store it in an airtight container, preferably in a cool place. Roll the tape up into a coil, or simply wrap it around an empty toilet paper roll.

To plant the seed tape, prepare your growing area as usual and lay the tape down. Cover it with the appropriate depth of soil and water as usual. The toilet paper will gradually dissolve in time as the seedlings grow.

Making your own seed tape can save you time, ensures your plants are spaced out correctly, and is a great "rainy day" project for kids.

15 Gardening Hacks That Will Beautify Your Yard Without Breaking the Bank

Because life’s simple pleasures shouldn’t cost a fortune.

Growing your own fruits and veggies is one way to save serious dough on organic produce, but pricey gardening tools can eat into those savings. Follow the tips below to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your horticultural habit.

Check your local garden club for seed-swap events where anyone can bring seeds to trade with likeminded growers. For the online equivalent, check out the GardenWeb forum and Heirloom Seed Swap. A membership to the American Horticultural Society (starting at $35 per year) will get you access to a national seed exchange, and you can find a state-by-state list of more than 150 seed libraries at

Landscapers sometimes have leftover pavers and scrap wood they need to offload. Check the Free and Farm + Garden tabs on Craigslist, or sign up for Freecycle, where everything’s gratis. Score!

Admittedly, this good deed has selfish motives: If you share with a friend, they’ll be more inclined to let you propagate plants from their garden. English ivy, monkey grass and pothos are all easily transferred.

Bone meal makes excellent fertilizer for tomato plants. Clean as much meat, fat and gristle off bones as possible, then bake them in the oven on 284 degrees F for approximately 3 hours. Next, break the now-brittle bones into small pieces using a hammer or metal mallet — wear safety goggles during this step! — then grind those bits into powder with a stone grinder or mortar and pestle. (For more details, check out SF Gate.)

Blogger Minna makes mini-greenhouses using the top halves of soda bottles.

Starting with seeds is cheaper than buying plants and used K-Cups already have a hole in the bottom of them that’s perfect for drainage. Save the coffee grounds to sprinkle on garden soil later — it’s a great source of phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. Get the tutorial at Fresh Eggs Daily.

A concoction of castile soap, neem oil and water can keep fungal infections and pests like aphids away. Get the recipe at One Good Thing by Jillee.

A post shared by @ flowerhutindy on Jan 27, 2015 at 6:08am PST

Puncture 10 to 15 holes in the cap and voila! One less thing you have to buy.

Oversized ceramic planters can sell for hundreds of dollars. Jill Krause of Baby Rabies used round trash cans ($15 each) to get a similar look for less.

Lettuce, celery and green onions are a few of the veggies you can completely regrow in water, while the list of produce you can start from scraps and transplant to your garden is even longer (think: avocado, mushrooms, onions and more).

Flattened cardboard boxes can be used as a weed barrier in sheet mulching. Cardboard is biodegradable, meaning, in theory, it’ll decompose after the weeds are gone.

The brilliant minds behind Garden Maine used smaller containers to fill in the bottom of a large planter.

Thrift store spoons served as the basis for these markers, made with Mod Podge and acrylic coating spray. Get the tutorial at Domestic Simplicity.

You’ll use less water by tending to plants during cooler temperatures because it won’t evaporate as quickly as it would when the sun’s high overhead.

There’s no need to pay someone to look over your plants while you’re out of town. A clean, empty wine bottle filled with water will do the trick. Get the tutorial at The Garden Glove.

Because life's simple pleasures shouldn't cost a fortune.