Here’s a quicky garden hack which makes a practical alternative or a great gift. Seed mats and seed tapes seem to be a popular feature in gardening catalogues but using basic kitchen items and seeds you can easily make your own.
Using seed mats and tapes helps you to place your seeds exactly where you want them, and prepared in advance, they can be a great time-saver. Making them is a good project for a windy or rainy day, because, come the sunshine, you can then go out and lay down your measured-out mat or tape in just seconds, rather than having to use up precious good-weather time doing the measuring up. And using chilli acts as an effective ‘keep off’ sign for slugs and other soil-dwelling critters, too!
YOU WILL NEED
- Squares of paper towel
- Plain flour
- Chilli powder
- Cocktail sticks, wooden spatula, or even better – a pipette
1 Mix up a paste of flour and water with a smidgeon of chilli powder.
If you are using seeds from wild flowers or other plants that would normally scatter randomly, mix your paste reasonably thinly so you can spread it with a pastry brush as a wash over the paper towel, then scatter the seeds randomly on top.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for regular-interval planting for veg, then measure out the towel (I just folded it in equal parts) and, using the pipette (or a cocktail stick/spatula), place blobs of ‘glue’ on the towel at the appropriate intervals, followed by the seeds.
2 Write the name of the variety/varieties on the mats (always useful!) and allow them to dry out completely.
3 Once they are dry, you can fold them up and store them in an airtight bag until ready to use. You could even cut them into smaller squares for individual planting, or leave them as whole towels and use multiple sheets to cover larger areas.
4 When ready to plant, place the seed mats in position in your bed or pot and cover lightly with soil and water.
Use exactly the same materials as for the seed mats, but replace the squares of paper towel with strips of paper towel or newspaper, then, when dry, roll them up, label and store in a cool, dark place.