Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Carrot & Parsnip Seed Tape

Simple DIY. I actually saw seed tape for sale at a big box store a few weeks ago. I sort of laughed at the price...

Its easy to make if you don't mind being a little nit-picky.
I don't like to thin, so i rarely sow direct because when i do i tend to oversow and annoy myself.

So here's how i do it.

Paper towel.... 2 ply is great, the cheapest is actually better than what i have because it is thin.
 Don't separate the ply right yet, it will save work later if you don't. If you want narrow rows use a mid grade TP.

Get a ruler, glue, pencil and a felt marker and seeds.

check the spacing of the seeds and get ready to mark your grid.

I'm spacing mine closer since i plan to harvest them small...  my garden soil is not very deep so i can't expect long roots at all.

This is why i leave the ply intact until marking is finished and use a felt pen. Saved half the effort.

 I have even gotten this marker to mark through 4 layers of ply, but 6 seems too much...or i would need a juicier marker.

So now i separate the ply.

Running out of room at the edge is ok because you can overlap them in the garden to keep relatively even rows

Glue dots...

Oh, yes... its not a bad idea to put a sheet of waxed paper underneath to keep the glue from getting on the work surface,  but if it does, the paper toweling pops off ok if you are careful.

Tiny carrot seeds,  these are Cosmic Purple. (funny, they don't look purple- lol)

.Tedious, but i'd rather do this comfortably seated at the kitchen table than bent over a row with the wind blowing everything to kingdom come.

The lick-a-toothpick method works great for this.

 The glue (unlike some seed starting mixes) is more than happy to grab the seed from the moist toothpick.

Label  it so it won't get mixed up.

Lay them aside separately to dry or they will stick together if the glue spots touch. I think that would make a huge mess of the situation!

 I'll put these in the garden once i get them all finished. I want at least6 squares of paper towel in size for each variety.
But it does take time to make them...

Planting out.

Its good to let them dry completely, just so they don't stick to each other.  Try to do this on a still day...  In the last few years i have found my home to be on one of the breeziest areas i have ever known.  Its almost constant and just strong enough to be irritating.

But anyway,  spray down the dirt.  It gives the paper something to adhere to immediately so you have an extra split second to grab a few clods of handful of dirt before the breeze picks it up.

Rocky I
Quick, hit it with water before the wind blows it away!

This is actually the last sheet of seeds, the rest you can see are covered in dry dirt. The wind was being too pesky for me to take the time to grab the camera. 

I also had to work fast because i had the little one out there with me, in a stroller and she wasn't being very patient.

So, i covered the covered and well watered seed tapes with plywood boards and i hope those don't blow away!


Frost last night.
The forecast said 31 for a low.
But actual low was around 27 degrees.
I have proof!

I have no idea which will come back and which won't.  Kinda stinks, looks like things got just a bit too cold.  Since some things are alive it had to have been just on the edge.
If i had expected the temps to be almost 5 degrees below what was forecast, i would have brought them all in.
Good thing is that much of what i may have lost can be replanted as seeds in the garden, that is the normal procedure for them anyway.  I was hoping to get a head start if possible, but that's not gonna happen.
So....  its back to the drawing board for most of what was growing so well.
I'm going to let it go a couple days to see if anything perks back up, if not i will restart some of those tomatoes- at least the ones that i still have seeds for.  They will need to be started indoors in the normal way because the outside will be too cool for the soil to allow quick germination.  There should be enough time for them since they always get leggy on me when i plant them the usual 4-6 weeks before planting. Even when i have them under adequate light.

But i'm going to try and make the seed 'tape' for the carrots today.  I might try and take pictures of how to do it.
Carrots are one of those things that really need to be planted like this, otherwise i would have to lean over my rows planting individual seeds forever.  I don't sow carrot seeds very neatly and i hate thinning. 
So, let me gather my materials and find my camera....