Monday, July 27, 2015

Why Toilet Paper Rolls

it's the end of july here in Northern NSW ... so still in the dead of winter with cold nights.  but the days can be lovely and warm (like today!) and if you put your greenhouse so that it is against a great heat sink (e.g., the east side of a brick house in our case) ... the warmth that it generates can do great things for getting your seedlings growing.

start with good seeds
we use toilet paper rolls to raise our seedlings.  so many reasons to use this sustainable and biodegradable resource.  but still, it may seem a bit unusual to some, so i thot i would take the time to explain it here, as well as a bit of our process.  and too ... make sure that you source good, traditional, heritage, non-modified seeds products ... makes all the difference in the world.

 btw ... i should also state that not all seeds should be germinated this way.  some things like root veg need to go straight in the ground.  i have a mass of leeks that i'm germinating in a big pot and then these will go directly into the ground once they've got "hair" that is about 2 cm longer than shown here.

my next batch of leek growing up a storm!
but, as for doing seeds in toilet rolls .... here is our methodology.  our seeds all start out this way .... in a nice container (again, sustainable and re-used), with a mixture of compost and coi peat.  this makes it easy to give them the warmth they need for germination, without wasting space for those that don't (because, let's face it ... not all seeds will germinate .... grrrr!).  there are also seeds, such as the cucumber pictured here, where the seeds is large enough to go directly into the toilet rolls.

this batch of tomato's, cucumber and capsicum are
ready to be put to bed

and not long after, we see little sprouts to remind us that indeed we did plant something lovely under that blanket of rich goodness. depending on the type of seed and weather, this will of course determine how quickly they germinate.  beans for example germinate very quickly in spite of the cold ... while tomato's need a lot more warmth to get that growing ticker started.    these beans and tomato's were planted at the same time and look at the difference.

come on!  my blue lake beans are winning the growth race at this point.
but the sun is coming out and the tomato's are coming up!  woohoo!
some will absolutely surprise you.  this parsley basically sprouted overnight after a lovely warm day in the sun.  how wonderful!
go the parsley!  can't wait to get you out in the garden
and then on a dinner plate!
so once they get to a size where they have a small but sturdy root system and need to start stretching their toes into more nutrient rich soil, they get moved into our sustainable toilet rolls which can go directly in the ground, providing the developing root system with a little more protection as it adapts to the reality of life in your patch.

they may not be in the plastic garbage that comes from stores ... so not quite so pretty, right?  but honestly ... tell me ... what would you rather have ... something that has to be teased out of a container that isn't biodegradable and if you hold it wrong you might accidentally break and destroy, or this lovely container and blanket of goodness that can go directly in the ground?

gorgeous Scarlett Runner Bean just looking for a home!
our seedlings are offered at .50 per pot ... allowing you the ability to buy a few at a time, extending your season.  to see what we currently have available, look at our "on offer now" section of the web site.  

Happy growing!!!  



  1. Nice photos. I wish I had more of a green thumb.

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