The old becomes new: You can prepare useful seed tape from leftover party supplies!
Is the weather in your neck of the woods as unpredictable as it is here in Michigan? The saying here is, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes,” but I have a feeling that saying applies to some of your home states as well.
If you aren’t sure when you are going to be able to get out in your backyard garden this Spring, making homemade seed tape is a good way to get a head start and to involve your little ones in the process.
Why make seed tapes instead of just planting the seeds directly in the ground, you ask? Seed tapes:
- ensure that your seeds are spaced correctly, reducing the need to thin your mature plants.
- eliminate wasting seeds.
- make planting tiny seeds much easier.
- allow you to sow seeds from the comfort of your kitchen chair, instead of on your hands and knees!
With items you may already have in the house, you can make your own inexpensive seed tape with your kids.
To make party streamer seed tape, you will need:
a small saucepan,
white party streamers (dollar store),
a measuring tape,
a washable marker,
NOTE: I recommend using white streamers, not colored, just because I am not sure how the dyes would affect the plants as they grow.
Let’s begin! First, the responsible adult will need to cook up the “glue” for the seed tape.
SEED TAPE GLUE1 cup water1 tablespoon cornstarchCook over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Once it starts to boil and make a gel, remove it from the heat. Cool to room temperature.
While the glue cools, roll out the streamers to the width of your garden plot. Lay the streamer next to an extended measuring tape. Using a washable marker or felt pen, make marks on the streamer at the intervals recommended for your seeds. We spaced the dots for our cucumber seeds at 3 inch intervals.
If you have preschool age children, practice counting using the measuring tape and the seeds. If your children are older, you can use the measuring tape like a number line to practice addition and subtraction.
Drop a small amount of cooled “glue” on each dot and have your child place one seed on each dot of glue.
Continue until all of your dots have seeds.
Fold the streamer in half and press to stick the streamer to itself, enclosing the seeds.
If you are making seed tape from more than one variety of seed, I recommend labeling the end of each roll of seed tape so you don’t mix your cucumbers with your zucchini.
After the streamers are dry, the tape can be rolled up and stored for whenever you decide to head outdoors to plant them. Just create a trench in your garden at the depth recommended for your seeds, unroll the seed tape, and cover with dirt. Water as you normally would and watch them grow!
Seed tapes also make fantastic Mothers and Fathers Day gifts. You could even create seed tape “rosettes” and use them in place of a bow!
Give this easy, fun gardening project a try! For more planting ideas you can try with your kiddos, check out these posts: Forcing Bulbs in Vases, Planting Forced Bulbs, and Germinating a Bean Seed.
I originally shared this project last Spring as part of Brassy Apple’s Save Our Summer series.
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Thanks, Jessica Hill