Newspaper Seed Strips

Sometimes trying to plant the teeny tiniest of seeds can prove to be more than frustrating.  Not only do you waste a good portion of the seeds by dropping them too close together (or even where they are not meant to be at all) but, you cause yourself additional work later by having to thin out these areas.  Something I have found invaluable to mending this problem is to make Seed Strips.  With these you can create perfectly spaced seeds in perfectly spaced rows, saving seeds, saving work, and you can do it all from your living room!

  1. Start with 1” strips of newsprint. If you are doing Square Foot gardening, cut your newsprint into 12”x12” squares.  The black and white pages are preferable, but if your newspaper prints with soy-based or a natural ink (like here in Portland, Oregon) then the colored pages are also okay.
  2. Place a small dot of Flour Glue (no larger than the size of a pencil eraser) regularly along the strip. I use a toothpick for this.  These should be spaced according to the spacing needs of the seed and will vary depending on the plant.  The Flour Glue is a natural substance and will breakdown in the soil.

3.   Once you have made each strip, be sure to label what seeds they are. Believe me, once you put those down on the counter, you will completely forget which one is which! I know from experience.

      4.     As soon as the glue has dried, you can go out and place these in your garden beds!  Cover the Seed Strips with soil, and water them to prevent the wind from disturbing them. The best tip I have found for placing that seemingly impossible 1/8”-1/4” thickness of soil over some of your seeds is to get a Fine Kitchen Sieve, place soil in it and then sift a thin layer of soil onto your Seed Strips. It will give you a nice, even, thin cover.

This technique is so simple and inexpensive, plus you can stay warm and dry by starting these inside in front of the TV!  You will end up with perfect rows of carrots, lettuce, radishes, onions, etc. You can also use this Seed Strip technique with larger seeds like beans, but they are already pretty easy to plant, so it isn’t usually necessary – unless you have shaky hands or poor eyesight, in which case this may be the way to go for you!

Making Flour Glue

½ cup Flour

3/4 cup Water

Mix flour and water together until you have reached the consistency of Elmer’s Glue.  Add more flour if it is too thin and more water if it is too thick.

I have always loved starting seeds directly in the garden this way.  It has proven greatly successful for me, and hopefully it will be for you too!


Categories: Seed Starting


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