Planting the seed…

If you’ve read, oooh, pretty much any other article on this blog, it’ll come as no surprise to hear I’m a lazy gardener.

A crocus in my garden. Probably my favourite way of gardening: stick some bulbs in the ground, see what comes up next year

Every Wednesday in my horticulture course we learn about all the right ways to help a plant grow: how to provide the right soil conditions, the right nutrients, the best levels of light, the best position in the garden, the right amount of water, the right temperatures…

It’s all fascinating and I eagerly scribble down notes and ask (slightly spoddy) questions.

And then I come home and can’t be bothered to do a single one of the recommended actions in my own garden. I don’t want to tenderly care for and nurture a plant for months on end, providing it with the best possible situation and assessing its wellbeing every day.

Nope. I’m of the plunk-it-in-the-ground-and-see-what-happens persuasion.

So planting bulbs and seeds is my very favourite form of gardening. Stick them in, forget what you put where, be pleasantly surprised by whatever comes up. (And anything that dies; well, it probably wasn’t going to be a very interesting plant in the first place…)

The only trouble with seeds is that there tends to be an awful lot of re-potting involved. From the seed tray to the small flower pots to the final position. So, when I read last year about planting seeds in old loo rolls, I knew I was onto a winner…

Empty loo rolls for planting seeds
There’s something quite pleasing to me about the arrangement of all these empty loo rolls, waiting for their seeds

You just fill them with compost, plant the seeds inside, keep them well-watered and once the seeds are big enough, plant the whole thing in its final position. As long as the cardboard stays wet, the roots will be able to grow right through them.

It’s the same idea as those biodegradable pots you see, but of course much cheaper. Why spend money on something when you can recycle an object that you’d otherwise throw away to do the same job?

Last weekend, I took some of the seeds I’d been meaning to plant for ages and spent a nice few hours pootling around out the back planting them into the loo rolls.

Seed packets
Sweet peas for the front garden and some veg for the summer…
Seed tin
My very bucolic (albeit slightly twee) seed tin. It makes me happy just to look at it

Of course, the process ended up slightly less straightforward than it sounds. Turns out there is one really good thing that all flowerpots have and loo rolls don’t. A bottom.

I spent quite a lot of time re-filling the rolls as the compost fell out of the bottom if I moved them the tiniest bit. And you really need something the size of a spoon (not a trowel) to fill them, otherwise you end up with a lot of soil in the gaps between all the loo rolls.

But let’s hope it was a bit of extra effort now, to save lots of effort later on.

This was how they looked once I’d finished:

Toilet rolls used as seed trays
Toilet rolls filled with seeds. Come on, little seeds, grow, grow!

I’ll let you know how they get on over the next few weeks!

Have you ever tried this out before? How did it work out? And do you have any other time / money saving tips for gardening? Post me a comment below and let me know…

Related articles:

This post is linked at Thirty Handmade Days, the Shabby Nest, Beyond the Picket Fence, the Shabby Creek Cottage, Sew Can Do, CRAFT, Simply Dream and Create, Serenity Now. Head over and see what others have been up to this week…

5 thoughts on “Planting the seed…

  1. Yes this works but i will give you two additions to it. One is to scrunch up a bit of newsprint and push it to the bottom of the cardboard roll. This effectively stops the bottom falling out when you have add the potting mix or compost. Also you save the amount of the mix you are using that is needed to fill the roll because the paper should fill 1/4 to 1/2 way up the roll. Secondly, check this out, i haven’t tried this yet but ticks all the boxes for me 🙂

    1. Margot, I love your scrunched newspaper idea! Quick, simple and would definitely solve my problems. (Am wondering now why it didn’t even occur to me to try and put something in the bottom!)

      And that photo with the toilet rolls all cut up is also genius — but I just know already I could never be bothered with all that cutting… Honestly, I think I have the attention span of a five-year-old.

      Thanks so much for the tips. I’ve got a few more rolls ready for planting some Cosmos seeds this weekend, so I’ll definitely be adding newspaper into those ones.

  2. Great idea! I’ve got to try this, and I always have plenty of toilet paper rolls around. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great day!

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