Saturday, April 13, 2013

Seed-starting with Toilet Paper Roll Tubes

I saw it on Pinterest! Seed-starting using toilet paper tubes. So, I'm giving it a try. I moistened seed-starting mix so it was damp enough to hold its shape when I squeezed a handful. It's important to start with damp soil. You don't want to have to try to water the little pots because the seeds could float away.

I cut a few slices into each tube so I could fold the edges to create a bottom.

The Pinterest posts I saw promote how the tubes would decompose and the plants would be ready to go directly into the soil. That's not the ideal seed-starting situation. Really, once seedlings grow their first true leaves, it's best to re-pot them in garden mix to they can continue becoming strong before they live outdoors. Also, the tubes are dry, porous material, so they will wick water away from the soil in inside - robbing the seeds of moisture. It's true the tubes disintegrate quickly, so it's best to use twine - I used rubber bands - to secure them before dipping them into a bath to moisten.

After a quick dunk for the tube, stuff it with moistened seed-starting mix. Plant seeds according to depth recommendations on the label. I use craft sticks for seed-starting because they also double as a dibble - to make a hole for each seed. I move the stick to the edge as a label.

All the pots went into a covered plastic bin, placed in a south-facing window to bring them to life. (you can use a big, clear plastic bag - or do a couple in a zip-lock bag). These babies will not need to be watered until they emerge and start producing leaves. That's when I'll re-plant them. Just keep the lid closed and they'll have all the water they need to get started.

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