FoodPrints

FRESHFARM's food education program in partnership with DC Public Schools

FoodPrints is an education project of FRESHFARM that integrates gardening, cooking, and nutrition education into the curriculum at partner elementary schools. Watch the FoodPrints video to see our program in action. 

Preparing for Spring with Seed Tape - by Jenn Mampara

Happy Spring Break! This post is about making seed tape for your garden, a perfect activity for kids at home on break.
Don't forget to vote today and every day through April 27th for FoodPrints to win a Seeds of Change garden grant!! 


During March we are itching to get back into the garden before the garden is ready for us. And, when the garden and the weather are finally ready, there is always a rush to get carrot, lettuce and radish seeds into the ground quickly.

If you have planted these seeds, you know how VERY tiny they are. I find it nearly impossible to muster up the patience to pluck out one at a time to carefully drop in every inch or two. Usually I wind up dropping too many seeds, having them stuck all over my fingers, and eventually just brushing them off along the end of the row. This leads to hours of painstaking thinning of excess seedlings, and is a job that we have never been able to successfully hand over to kids because ALL the plants wind up being pulled out and we have nothing left! For years we struggled with how to have children do the planting, and at the same time, still wind up with plants to harvest.

Last year Ms. Christy, our FoodPrints Teacher at Peabody, introduced us to homemade seed tape, and it has changed our spring planning forever!

Students from preschool through 5th grade love making seed tape, and our garden loves the results. Seed tape can be made with supplies you already have at home or school, and once the tapes dry you can store them in a cool area until you are ready to plant. With seed tape you can actually have properly spaced carrots and radishes that don’t require hours of tricky thinning after the seeds germinate. And, even 3-year-olds can successfully plant them in the garden.

Materials

  • toilet paper
  • ruler or yard stick
  • Elmer’s glue or make a paste by mixing flour with water
  • seeds
  • pencil or marker

Instructions

1. Lay the toilet paper out on a table in any length you feel comfortable working with. Place a ruler or yard stick on top of it.

2. Select the seeds you would like to use and read the packet to determine how far apart the seeds should be spaced. Place TINY dots of glue or flour/water paste at the appropriate intervals. (For example, carrot seeds should be spaced one inch apart.)

3. Use a damp or slightly sticky/gluey finger or toothpick to pick up and place one or two seeds on each dot of glue.

4. When you finish the whole strip of toilet paper, fold it in half and press down so the glue makes it stick together. Write the name of the seeds you used on the toilet paper.

5. Hang the strips over the back of a chair to dry, and then stack them up and store in a plastic bag with the seed packet until you are ready to plant.

6. To plant, read the directions on the seed packet to find out how to properly space the rows and at what depth the seeds should be sown. Dig a trench the length of the seed tape and gently lay it into the soil and cover it to the right depth.

7. Water, wait, and enjoy your plants!

A student gingerly places seeds on her seed tape, spaced apart just right.

A carrot seedtape going into the ground.

Look at our garden grow in perfectly spaced rows!

foodprints@freshfarm.org