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Make Your Own Seed Tape – Homemade Seed Tapes From Toilet Paper

Make your own seed tape with some seeds and a roll of toilet paper. Why waste money on store bought seed planting tape when you can make your own seed tape with this common household item? The tutorial shows you how easy it is to plant tiny seeds in a vegetable garden.

Have you ever noticed that some seeds are so small that you end up wasting them at sowing time? This means that you’ll have to thin out a lot of the seedlings later. If you enjoy DIY garden ideas on a budget, this is the project for you.

What is seed tape?

Seed tape is a strip that is embedded with pre-sown single or multiple species of seeds. The spacing of the seeds is done for you at the correct distance for growing properly.

The seeds are sown between layers of tissue paper. They are a great help for gardeners who have arthritis or other mobility issues.

Seed tape gives these gardeners a quick and easy way to sow tiny seeds without having to spend a lot of time bent over when sowing the seeds.

How to make seed tape

Homemade seed tape is also a really fun project that the kids will love help with. Making the seed tape gives them a project to do when they are too young to handle garden tools.

Children will feel that they played a part in the garden when it starts to grow.

Double ply toilet paper works best for this project. It is a little stronger than single ply and will hold the seeds better.

To make your own seed tape, you’ll need these supplies:

  • Double ply toilet paper
  • Seeds for flowers or vegetables
  • Spray bottle or plant mister

To make the seed tape, unroll a strip of toilet paper and mist it with a sprayer. Place the seeds along the center of the strip.

Be sure to check the package for spacing recommendations to ensure even sowing in the garden.

Start with one long edge and fold a third of the toilet paper over the seeds. Fold the other side over to completely cover the seeds. You will end up with one long strip with seeds encased in the center.

Mist the toilet paper again after lightly tamping down the seeds. This will secure the seeds in the toilet paper.

To plant the DIY seed tape

Carefully take the vegetable seed tape strip out into the garden. Make a shallow furrow in your prepared soil and lay the strip down.

Cover the entire tape lightly according to the depth directions on your package. Mist the soil and wait for the seeds to grow.

The toilet paper tape will disintegrate in time and the roots will grow through it easily. You should see some signs of growth in 7-10 days

Tip: Alternate carrot seeds with radish seeds because when the radishes sprout, they help to mark the row and break the ground.

The two vegetables also make good companion plants.

Vegetable garden hacks like this one save you time and money. See more DIY garden hacks here.

Pin this seed tape project for later.

Would you like a reminder of these tips to make your own seed tape? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Admin note: This post for making seed tape first appeared on the blog in April of 2013. I have updated the post with new photos, a printable project card, and a video for you to enjoy.

Make Your Own Seed Tape

Seed tape is a convenient way for gardeners with arthritis to sow seeds evenly without having to spend a lot of time bent over. It’s also a great project to do with children.

Toilet Roll Seed-Starter

UPDATE March 2014: I see each growing season as an opportunity to do better than the last and as a result I rarely stick with one “right way” to do things. I wrote this article back in 2007 (7 years ago) and it reflects how I used toilet paper rolls as seed-starting cells at the time. Since then I have altered the way I use them quite a bit, and since this article gets a lot of traffic each spring, I figured it was time to provide an update. Those of you who have my book, Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces, will notice that I covered a very different method on page 27. Over time I found that cutting slits into the bottom of the toilet rolls to make a little pot is fine, but an unnecessary step. It makes a smaller “pot” that dries out faster and I find that fast-growing seedlings need to be repotted sooner. Instead, I simply leave the paper tube whole and use the bottom of the water catching tray as support to keep the soil in place. I sometimes tie a string around a bundle of 5 to prevent them from falling over. However, please note that this can reduce air flow between the tubes.

For the most part I no longer bother using toilet rolls when starting plants indoors underneath lights. However, I still use them regularly when starting seeds outdoors that I would normally direct sow, but can’t due to the pernicious squirrels that dig seeds up before they can germinate. I start seeds such as beans, Swiss chard, and sunflower in a the tubes and allow them to germinate and develop in a protected spot. I transfer them into the ground, raised beds, or a large pot once the seedlings are developed enough to hold their own.

Through the magic of online photo-sharing I have been catching a peak at little seedlings coming up all over the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve also been enjoying the smell of tomato plants sprouting fresh leaves right in my own home grow-op. The promise of spring smells good! And yet one thing disturbs me — ya’ll are too in love with those horrible peat pellets! Because I am so eager to get you off that dope I’ve come up with another seed-starting option that is mega-cheap and easy.

It’s so simple I almost feel like I’m talking down to you by providing directions. Simply get yourself a bag of seed-starting mix or mix up a batch yourself. I purchased a 10L bag for $3.99 CDN at my friendly local hardware store. I have seen seed-starting soil for a lower price however this mix is organic, chemical-free, and features compost and “sustainably harvested peat”. [Note: I am not listing the product because while I like it I am still looking into what “sustainably harvested peat” really means.] Regardless, 10L is more than enough to tackle Phase One of my frighteningly large and ever-growing list of seeds and should take me straight through to upsizing my wee seedlings from the starter and into transplant containers. If you’ve got too much save it for next year or use it to root cuttings. The fact of the matter is that you will need to replant into larger containers at some point in the seed-starting process regardless of whether or not you start in those horrible peat pellets or not so you might as well just save the dough, buy a bag, and forego the pellets altogether.

Next, save yourself some toilet rolls. Start a week or two ahead and you’ll have plenty in time. Ask your neighbours and friends! They will not assume that this gardening thing has driven you mad.

With a pair of scissors, cut 1/4″ wide strips all around one end of the toilet roll tube. This is the same method used to wrap a bottle of wine or a poster.

Fold each strip down. The strips should start to overlap each other creating a bottom that will hold soil.

Fill the tube with pre-moistened soil, tap lightly or push the soil down, and add more until there is about a 1/2″ or so left at the top of the roll.

Sow one seed per roll. Watch the sides of the tube for dryness and keep that soil moist!

You’ll need to transplant your tubes into larger containers about 2-4 weeks after your seeds have germinated. The best part is that you don’t have to remove the toilet roll or touch any delicate seedling roots. Just plop the entire thing into a larger container of soil (think 4″ transplant pot). The toilet roll with breakdown into the soil and be overcome by little plant roots in no time.

And since we’re on the topic of toilet rolls, start saving yours now so you’ll be stocked up when it comes time to plant your tomato seedlings out. I am yet to find anything better than a lowly loo roll to protect seedlings from cut worms.