What are Seed Tapes and How Do I Use Them?

Published February 04, 2017 by National Garden Bureau

Seed tapes are a pre-sown product of single or multiple species of seeds that are already spaced between tissue layers at the correct distance for growing. Many flower, vegetable or herb seeds can be purchased already incorporated into these products.

Advantages include:

  • Even seed spacing prevents oversowing, especially with crops like lettuce, greens, carrots, wildflowers, etc. This also eliminates the need for thinning the young seedlings.
  • The lightweight tape prevents birds from eating freshly sown seeds
  • The tape, when covered with additional soil, won’t wash away in a sudden spring downpour, ruining evenly spaced and sown rows.
  • Almost all seed tapes are biodegradable to protect wildlife and have no damaging impact on garden ecosystems.
  • For gardeners experiencing arthritis or other mobility issues, a seed tape is a quick and easy way to sow tiny seeds.
  • Types:

    • Seed tapes: Come in various lengths, single track or multiple tracks, both available with the option of one seed variety or a multiple of seeds – suitable for salad, mixed vegetable and flower collections.
    • Seed discs: Small discs, from 8-12cm diameter are for standard flowerpots – perfect for the indoor herb garden. Larger discs, from 14-30cm diameter are often used for sowing container gardens.
    • Seed mats: Ideal for sowing seeds in window boxes, bedding borders and big planters. Sizes vary from as small as a business card up to 3’ in length.
    • Seed carpets: Usually for larger areas where a ready-made ‘mini garden’ is desired. These are great for wildflower fusions, mixed vegetables and salads.
    • How-To: 
      Prepare soil as for any planting. Place seed tapes, discs or mats on the soil and cover with the recommended top layer of soil. The products are well-suited for large empty garden plots as well as fill-ins in tighter locations. They are also ideal for container plantings.

      Where to buy
      Explore your local garden center, nursery, or one of the many online garden retailers such as NGB members Gardener’s Supply, Jung Seed, Park Seed, Botanical Interests and other members listed here.

      Source: National Garden Bureau, ngb.org