Check out this funky packing paper I've had for YEARS now. I forget what it came wrapped around, but I saved it, figuring I could do something cool with it... It's always sat in the back of a closet or in the basement.
The main idea that's been in the back of my mind for YEARS now, but something I've just not made the time to do, was turn it into seed tape. You know you can BUY many types of veggie seeds pre-attached to paper, with the seeds spaced out perfectly. You bury the paper, moisture presumably dissolves the paper, and the seeds sprout - no need to thin out!!! I've seen lots of hints at how to make your own seed tape over the years, and it always seems like a great "trapped indoors in the middle of winter" project - and yet never happens. So I decided it was finally time! I'm gonna do this!!!
So first I stirred up a thin paste of flour and water (no, this wasn't my brilliant creation - someone else blogged about it). You'll see I've already got some assistance in the form of Tucker. Because that ALWAYS helps during these sorts of projects. Not.
While I sort through alllll the seeds I brought up as possible candidates, Tucker checks out all the strips of paper I'd cut. This was quite amusing actually - as he'd walk on the paper, it would affect how the little slits opened and closed, and then he'd get it stuck to his fur or foot, and have to start shaking it off. Good fun!
Brett helped out - sure, Tucker was being a nuisance, but at least Doogie was distracted!
What I did was started by selecting the seed variety I wanted to put on a strip, wrote this on a piece of narrow masking tape (such as "LETTUCE - Black Seeded Simpson") along with the date and, just for fun, number of days til harvest (yeah, right, we'll see 1) how accurate that is and 2) if I even pay attention later! I'm sure those tags'll be lost in no time!). I stuck the tape to one end of the paper strip, and started dabbing on the paste with a Q-tip, and then I'd sprinkle a few seeds on to each blob of paste. Now "a few seeds" SORT of defeats the purpose of not having to thin - I should really have just put one seed on each...but have you ever dealt with lettuce seeds? They're TINY! PLUS, these are old seeds, so I figure germination could be low.
Hm, yeah, I don't think the quality control inspector approves of how many seeds I put on each blop of paste.
And here's some of the finished product. I just piled them all up loosely and let them dry for a day. The next day they came apart fine - there were a couple spots where the past had stuck to a different strip, but for the most part the only trouble was untangling the paper. I've planted about half of them already, and need to make more sometime soon. What turned out to be really cool about the funky paper is that I can stretch it! The strips were maybe 2 1/2 feet long, and yet the bed I was putting them in is 4 ft wide. I was able to bury one end of each strip, and then go around to the other side of the bed and actually stretch most of the strips out to the full four feet! Only one tore, but it was poorly cut anyhow - my fault!
Now we sit and wait and see if anything sprouts!
And yes, I realize this was more work than just sprinkling seeds in carefully. It's more of a fun experiment - will it work!?