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Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Oh my goodness, the weather here has been absolutely fantastic this past week. It is mid March in zone 5 and we’ve had 60s and it even hit as high as 80 today. Even though it is supposed to get colder again next week, it has been so nice be outside and know that spring is just around the corner!

In the past I have started seeds indoors, done winter sowing, and planted directly after last frost. I have not ever had a lot of success with starting seeds indoors, which would be started at about this time here, or winter sowing. So, this year I have decided to plant my seeds directly into the ground. 

I recently discovered how to make seed mats and tapes, which make planting seeds in the ground easier and could be used for direct sowing or container planting. I started a couple of days ago and have made up about 50 square foot mats so far! These can be used for container gardening, the square foot gardening method or rows.

There are several different glues that you can use to glue the seeds to the mat or tape. The easiest thing to use would probably be just a plain old nontoxic glue stick. I did not use this, though, as my fear was that the larger seeds would fall off. Plain old white glue could also be used, which worked really well for me. This held large and small seeds just fine. The only issue with this is that if the seed mat/tape is not thick enough the glue can leak right through the paper and stick to the table a bit. I was able to gently finagle them off of the table keeping the mats intact and the table cleaned up fine, but it was kind of a pain. I only used this for my nonedible flower seeds because even though it is nontoxic I was a little uneasy on using it on my edibles. You can use a paste of flour and water as your glue. Just use a little flower and add water slowly while mixing until you get a nice glue consistency. I used a mixture of cornstarch and water for my mats/tapes with edibles. I heated a cup of water with 2 liberal tablespoons of cornstarch to boiling, which thickened it nicely. It cooled down into a thick gel and then I plopped it into an old cleaned out honey mustard squeeze container. If you don’t have a squeeze container to use, you can use a toothpick or spoon to dab it on your mats. It’ll just take a little longer to do.

For your mats and tapes you can use any kind of paper you would like. I used cheap paper napkins doubled up, which were nice because they were each one square foot in size and had folds in them when opened for easy measuring out. Paper towels, printer paper, toilet paper, cardboard, or black and white newspaper can be used. To make tapes, cut the paper into strips and stick them each together into one long strip before gluing seeds on.

Just lay the paper out on a flat surface, glue the seeds onto the paper, and let it dry. The seeds can be placed on your paper first and then glue over top, or put dots of glue on the paper and then seeds on top.

The glue is not too wet and dries quickly, so the seeds do not have time to germinate. The seed mats/tape eliminate having to kneel down for prolonged periods to plant individual seeds in the ground. When seeds are spaced out on the mats/tape, space them out according to the final spacing directions after thinning. This will eliminate the need for thinning later on. The paper will make a nice mulch and smother weed seeds long enough to give your seeds a good head start. Making up these seed mats has been a fun and relaxing task for me and gives me something spring-like to do even when I can’t plant anything yet. The hardest part about the whole process is going to be having the patience to wait for that last frost date to roll around before I put my seed mats in the ground!

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