Saturday, April 9, 2011

Small Seeds and clever solutions

Huge kudos to my sharp wife.  She has been reading tips and techniques and some are good, others well not so much.  But like most things in life, you take the good with the bad, and try to smile throughout it all.

Today I worked on the flower gardens, helping my wife move plants, and figure out what we have in the back garden.  Perhaps because she felt for me working on the flowers, or perhaps she just loves me.  She shared one of the tips she read about with me, and you know, it sounded good.

In summary:
Carrot seeds are really small, and sowing them usually devolves into pouring the whole packet into a small trench and thinning excessively later.  I hate this, as buying seed packets while not expensive, isn't cheap either, with a small packets of seed costing $3.25 or more (organic of course.)

Other options are using seed tape, which is even more costly, and you don't get nearly the same amount of seed.  Yes, there are other tools out there, but after trying them none really worked as advertised.

So here is what my wife told me:

The tip she read told how to make your own seed tape from toilet paper, and flour glue.

Well, we tried it this evening, tried it out, here is the recipe:

2 Tbsp of flour
Toilet paper
Carrot Seeds

Add water to the flour and stir just until it becomes the consistency of white glue:

Cut the toilet paper to as many squares (length) as you want.  Then cut this in half so you have two thinner sheets the same length.

The tip said to paint the flour glue onto the toilet paper strip, but we tried, and it worked, though was a little difficult to control.  So we tried a children's medicine syringe and it worked remarkably better:

Spread the glue about 1/4 of the way up the toilet paper, from end to end.  Then just drop the seeds onto the glue at the spacing you would use for your final plant spacing.

Once you have placed all the seeds onto the Flour Glue strip, fold the top half over the glue and seeds. Smooth it down and label them.  Place them somewhere to dry:

Once dry, store them until ready to drop the tape into the ground.  The tip said that the toilet paper decomposes quickly (that I believe is true), and when the Flour glue decomposes it provides starch to the germinating seedling (not sure if that's one of those good or bad things, but hey experimentation is like life, you just have smile through it.)

We spent about an hour, and it got faster as we went along, and were able to make up 3 tapes for each of the varieties of carrots we want to plant.  We will let them sit overnight, and when dry will store them in a cool dry place until planted.

Best of all, this cost pennies to do.  I still have a bunch of seed left from my original packet, and when thinning time comes, I will have less to do.  All in all, if this works, I will have saved time in the long run by doing something in my down time.

I'll keep tabs on germination and how they grow.  If it fails, I should only lose a week or two at most, and will go back to the spread and thin method.

Night all


  1. Same concept as I got from my friend Granny. She uses a paper napkin and dots Elmers (same as your home made) in the spacing she wants, then uses a pencil eraser to pick up carrot or lettuce seeds and drop them in the glue. Lay out the napkin and cover lightly with soil. Water and presto! It works very well for SFGs like me, though I just scatterd mine this time. Was raining so I didn't want to bother. Hehe Great work bro! I just mowed and did compost.

  2. This is a wonderful way of sowing the smaller seeds. I used a similar method (Granny's Home Made Seed Mat Tutorial) for carrots last year and had great success. It works well for lettuce too.