After realizing the difficulty of freehand-seeding carrots in the garden, Cece and I decided that there had to be an easier way to plant carrots in nice, evenly-spaced rows. If you’re not familiar with these seeds, they are about the same size of a sesame seed, maybe even a little thinner in shape, and the same color as soil, making it really hard to keep track of where you plant them. A few weeks back, I came across these nifty directions for making seed tape with materials found in just about any home. Lucky for us, we were able to find these same supplies right at school.
To make the seed tape, we used:
- toilet paper
- carrot seeds (we planted carrots of the Nantes variety)
Using rulers and pencils, the kids measured and marked each inch on four long strips of toilet paper, indicating where each seed would be placed. But first, we had to apply a small dollop of a sticky paste made from flour and water so that the seeds would stay put.
While letting our seed tape dry up a bit, we headed outside to cultivate yet another one of the garden beds. This particular bed had a lot of old plant life to clear out, including some overwintered red lettuce that the kids were more than happy to bag and take home to eat! The shallow-rooted lettuce plants were easy to pull out, but the old Brussels sprout stalks were another story! The kids had to work together, using all of their strength to get those guys out of the bed and into the compost bin.
After loosening up several inches of soil using our trowels and cultivators, we evened out the bed and planted some Swiss Chard seeds. These leafy greens are related to spinach and beets. We planted the Bright Lights variety, which have bright pink, purple, red, orange, and yellow stalks that are tender enough to be eaten right along with the leaves. Though we are growing this crop for food, we also consider them ornamental plants (for decoration) since they add so much beautiful color to the garden.
Next, we carefully gathered our carrot seed tape and planted each strip, one by one, into the garden bed. By the end of the school year, we should be harvesting these carrots and making room for some new plant life.
Seed tape directions provided by One Green Tomato. Images by Rebekah Carter (2011).