Get your raised beds planted in record time. These homemade seed mats allow you to plant your garden one foot at a time, instead of one seed at a time, and they couldn’t be easier to make.
What You’ll Need:
Paper Napkins (the cheap, thin kind)
What You Do:
Open up a napkin on your work surface. I bought napkins that measured 12″x 12″, so I didn’t need to do any trimming. If your napkins are bigger than 12″ x 12″, cut them down to that size.
Then, measure and mark where your seeds need to go. Refer to the back of the seed packet or my printable square foot planting guide for spacing recommendations.
If you’re planting a bunch of the same thing, you may find it helpful to create a template, as I did here. I was planting beets, so my template is set up for nine seeds per square foot. I used a permanent marker to mark where the seeds needed to go. This allowed me to see my marks when I placed another napkin on top of it.
To affix your seeds to your mats, make a simple paste from flour and water, just like you’d make for papier mache.
Then, apply a dot of paste to each spot you marked on the napkin. I don’t mind getting messy, so I just used my finger for this. A toothpick or small paintbrush will also work.
Press a seed into each paste spot. Then, set your seed mat aside to dry, and repeat the process until you’ve made as many mats as you’d like.
Tip: After making a bunch of mats, I found that it wasn’t necessary to mark the seed placement on each mat. I just laid a napkin on top of my template, and applied the paste.
Here’s what a finished seed mat looks like.
If you aren’t going to plant them right away, just fold your seed mats back up, and stick them in a bag. Be sure to label the bag, so you don’t get your seeds mixed up.
To Plant Your Seed Mats
Simply lay them out in your raised beds, and cover them with the proper amount of dirt. Easy!
When to Use Seed Mats
Seed mats are especially helpful for planting teeny-tiny seeds like lettuce, carrots, radishes, spinach and many herbs. They also work well for any seeds that need to be planted shallowly.
Make your seed mats over the winter, so you’ll be ready to start planting as soon as the warm weather arrives. This is a great project to do with kids. Show them how to make and plant the mats.
More Planting Time-Savers
Use seed mats to plant shallow seeds in your square foot garden. Use a dibble to plant the deeper seeds. Here’s how to make a dibble.