Making Seed Tapes

Youth Gardening Activities series

This guide is one in a new series of youth gardening activities. See the related publications list for other guides in this series.

Donna Aufdenberg
Field Specialist in Horticulture

Making seed tapes is a great winter activity that makes for quick planting during gardening season. Learn how in this one-page guide. Recommended seed spacing for some popular vegetables, herbs and flowers is included.


As you are planning your upcoming garden, a great way to get youth involved is by teaching them to make seed tapes. On planting day, you just simply unroll the strips in the planting furrow and cover it with soil.

Recommended seed spacing
Carrots3 inches
Lettuce3 inches
Peas2 inches
Radish1 inch
Beets3 inches
Spinach3 inches
Cilantro6 inches
Dill4 inches
Chives6 inches
Parsley10 inches
Basil12 inches
Cosmos12 inches
Zinnia12 inches
Marigold12 inches

Why seed tape?

  • Great winter activity!
  • It can be done before the garden season, saving time during planting time.
  • Makes for quick planting.
  • Seed tapes eliminate waste — NO THINNING!


  1. Cut paper towel, tissue or newspaper into 2-inch strips and 12 inches long.
  2. Mix ½ cup flour with enough water mixed in to make it the consistence of thick gravy or glue.
  3. With a ruler and a pencil, draw small dots every so many inches on the strips of paper/tissue/towel (based on the seed spacing per variety).
  4. Place one seed on each dot and then place a drop of flour mixture on each seed using a teaspoon, cotton swab or toothpick.
  5. Allow flour mix to dry completely before moving and storing strips. Strips can be placed into a plastic bag once they have dried. Add a tablespoon of powdered milk in a paper towel to the bag to keep seeds dry.
  6. Label the bags or slide the corresponding seed packet into the bag so the tapes can be identified later.
  7. Plant seed tapes based on recommended depths according to seed packet or variety.