DIY Planting Stamp
Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Here's an easy, quick project to help pass those long winter hours. These planting stamps are one of my most used tools in the vegetable garden, and definitely the most used tool during planting season. Perfect for square foot gardening (or other intensive planting), they make direct seeding a breeze! There are commercial planting stamps out there (see the Planting Square from Lee Valley here), but these save you an additional step of poking a hole into the soil through each hole in the commercial stamp. Way faster! Today we are going to make 3 square planting stamps, one for making 4 holes, one for making 9 holes and one for making 16 holes.
29 wooden spools
Available at craft stores. Around 1" tall works perfectly.
3 door pulls, with screws to attach
Use ones that fit comfortably with your hand. 5 3/4" length worked well for my small hands. Ensure that they are of weatherproof material. Look in the exterior gate hardware section for the cheapest and most practical selection.
3 x 12" x 12" squares of 3/4" plywood
Make sure they are exactly 12" x 12", as you will be using these for measuring as well. If you happen to have 1/2" plywood lying around, that will work. You can also use solid laminated panels. Just remember you are using these outside, so not too flimsy but also not too fancy. Have the hardware store cut the squares for you, or cut them yourself with a circular saw.
29 wood screws
Ensure they are long enough to fit through your spools and into, but not all the way through, your plywood. I used #10 x 1 1/2" round socket head wood screws for 1" spools and 3/4" plywood.
Screwdriver (drill optional)
Oil based marker
Using your pencil, measuring tape and square, transfer the lines for each of the three squares (see measurements below) onto each one of your 12" x 12" squares of plywood.
Mark each line intersection.
Screw the wooden spools into the squares at each intersection point, for a total of 29 spools and screws. To attach your handles, flip the squares over and mark a centre line. Position your handles along the centre line and screw in place.
Using an oil based marker, write a 4, 9, or 16 on the handle side of each square. If you like, you can also write a list of vegetables and annual flowers that use that particular spacing on the handle side as well.
That's it! Not too hard, right?
Using Your Planting Stamps
Begin by gently raking the top of your soil to level and smooth it out. Choose the appropriate stamp for the seeds you want to plant. Align the stamp with the edge of the bed (if you have raised beds, just press it right up against the side). Press the stamp firmly into the soil, wiggling just a bit before you lift it up. Continue along your vegetable bed, aligning your stamp with the previous square edge. Drop your seeds into each hole and very gently smooth the soil back into the holes with the palm of your hand. Don't forget to label and water really well. And you are done!
For seeds that need to be planted deeper than your holes, simply drop in your seed and press further into the soil with your finger. For seeds that need to be planted less deep, simply sprinkle some soil over top your stamped holes before dropping in your seeds.
I borrowed the idea for this stamp from a picture posted on the blog Weathervane Farm found here. He used bolts, washers and nuts, but I found wooden spools to work much better for me.
Yummy gardening everyone!