CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Seed Tape: It works!

Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension

On one of my (many) trips to the garden centers this spring, I came across seed tape. Haven't heard of it? Well, envision paper-thin toilet paper with seeds embedded (and mostly evenly spaced) into the nearly translucent strip of paper.

The seed tape is lengthwise in this photo. You can see the seeds.
Anyway, I always wondered if it worked or if was another horticultural gimmick. Believe me--I love to make gardening as easy as possible and if it saves me the frustration of looking crossed-eyed when sowing teeny tiny seeds or the exertion of having to thin them later, count me in. But I still had my doubts.

My dad has used carrot seed tape for a couple years with good success. But he's a better vegetable gardener and has more patience. So I bought a couple packages. It should be noted that this stuff is not cheap. You could easily buy several packets of seed for what you pay for a single seed tape pack.
Seed tape packaged and ready to plant.
I read the instructions on my packages of basil (purple and green) and lettuce (romaine and bibb) and sowed the strips in containers. I cut them to size (to fit my container) first and lightly covered them with potting media...perhaps with 1/8-1/4". I couldn't see the tape after I planted, but you don't want them too deep either. Follow the instructions for the spacing recommendations between strips.

I watered...and waited....and lo and behold! Lettuce! GOOD lettuce! Beautiful lettuce! My self-seeded lettuce would never look so good or healthy. Or evenly spaced.
Lettuce seed tape a few weeks after planting. Maple the beagle approves.
The basil took a bit longer to germinate, but is also looking good. The basil came in pre-fabricated circles, perfect to fit in a container. No cutting required.
Basil seed tape.
Now, for those who know know that I never eat anything from my garden. I like to grow it just for fun. Yes, I'm aware of how weird this is. So you know who's been enjoying my lettuce? My chickens. It's like an all-you-can eat salad buffet!
Sadie, Lizzy and Madonna enjoying the lettuce buffet.
Sadie can't eat and chew fast enough.
So tell me...what's your experience with seed tape? I know they also make it for flowers and other vegetables. Carrots are next year's list to try. And you can also make it yourself. There are several videos on YouTube that show you how. But for my first experience with it, I give it a green thumb's up!


  1. I love it! I've used it for a few years now. A packet lasts me many years, making it more economical than it first appears. Glad your chickens are enjoying the fruits of your labors!

  2. Jennifer in ChicagoJune 30, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    Seed tape is one of the best garden "inventions" ever. It is especially good for seniors and kids, who have trouble handling small-seeded veggies and herbs - like your lettuce and basil examples. It makes gardening easier and more fun when working with small seeds that can be frustrating and difficult for any gardener. Thanks for writing this. I'm sending your blog to my clients.

  3. I have never used it, but it does look easy! I think I would definitely give this a try.