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A Handy Dandy Seed Template

Seed templates take only minutes to make, but last for decades, simplifying your gardening for years to come.

By Larry Hodgson

If precision in planting is your thing, why not make a seed template (seed spacer) that will always ensure you sow your seeds at just the right distance?

Raised square foot garden with plants.
The popularity of square foot gardening has made seed templates particularly useful. Photo:

The practice of square foot gardening, where the vegetable garden is divided into sixteen 1-foot by 1-foot (30-cm by 30-cm) squares, requires especially precise planting. Each square can contain 1 very large vegetable, 4 large vegetables, 9 medium vegetables or 16 small vegetables. Given the situation, you might well find it practical to make your own templates to make correct spacing simple, especially for medium and small vegetables. By using one, you’ll always sow the seeds in just the right spot.

Make Your Own

Yes, you’ll find readymade seed templates online and if you prefer to buy one, go head. However, they’re easy to make using scraps of wood and wine corks and take only minutes to assemble. So make it a rainy day project for the garden.

Making a seed template yourself is simple enough. Using a section of board and a ruler, trace lines that cross at the desired spacing: every 2 inches (5 cm), 4 inches (10 cm), 6 inches (15 cm), etc. At each spot where the lines meet, drill a hole and use a screw to fix a wine cork or section of wooden dowel to one side of the template. On its back, add a handle for easy handling.

Garden with planting holes punched in.
Simply punch planting holes into the soil with the seed template.

Now when you have seedlings to sow, simply punch planting holes in the soil with the template. Make sure you only push down just enough that the seeds will be at the right sowing depth. All you have left to do is to drop seeds in the holes, fill them with soil and water well. You’ll get perfectly spaced seedlings every time!

Multiple Models

Ideally you’d prepare several models, each based on the desired seed spacing for the plant you’re sowing.

You can also make templates for bedding plants and bulbs by fixing larger and longer sections of dowel to the board so you get a perfect planting hole every time.

This is the kind of gardening tip that is definitely not laidback to start with. After all, there’s some effort involved in preparing them! However, once you have your different models on hand, they will reduce the work you put into gardening for the rest of your life.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

1 comment on “A Handy Dandy Seed Template

  1. Oh yes, we used to use these in flats, but for cuttings rather than seed. It only works with medium that holds its shape after getting holes prodded into it.

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