Chicken Wire Seeding Guide

When sowing trays of seeds, you’re usually told to space them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, but rather than having to get out a ruler and take careful measurements, why not use a piece of chicken wire as a guide?

This widely available wire grid already has a 1-inch (2.5 cm) hexagonal mesh, exactly the spacing you need. You can even fix the grid onto a frame if you plan to use it often.

Why pay for chicken wire? Rummage in your garage or tool shed: you probably already have a roll of chicken wire lying around. Many gardeners do.

Simply cut a section of chicken wire the size of the tray using a pair of wire cutters, then place the wire grid over a tray filled with sowing mix. Punch a hole with a pencil of the appropriate depth (usually three times the height of the seed) in the center of each “cell,” then insert a seed. Continue until the whole tray is done, then remove the grid, add a thin layer of seeding mix to cover the holes and water carefully. 

When your seedlings germinate, they’ll be perfectly spaced apart, giving the result an almost professional appearance.

You can also use your chicken wire grid for sowing seeds outdoors. Photo:

Come summer and your “seeding guide” will be useful for outdoor sowing too.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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