How to Use Toilet Paper Rolls for Seed Starting

How to Use Toilet Paper Rolls in Your Organic Garden

Gardener sowing carrot seed in recycled carboard tubes, April
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Many of us are starting to avoid peat pots and pellets due to concerns over the environmental impact that commercial harvesting has on peat bogs. Without a doubt, the selling point of peat pots and pellets is the fact that you plant your seedlings, pot and all, and the pot decomposes in the soil over time. It's an easy way to seed, but it does cost a little money upfront. You can get this convenience without resorting to peat pots while keeping trash out of the landfills. Find out how to use toilet paper rolls to improve the seeding process. 

Depends on how many seeds you're starting, you will need a few toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls.

How to Use Toilet Paper Rolls to Start Seeds

Here are the things you need to create toilet paper or paper towel seed pods:

  • Cardboard toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper rolls
  • Scissors
  • Tray, plate, or bowl to put seed pots on
  • Twine
  • Seed starting medium
  • Seeds

Once you gather the materials, it is relatively easy to get going. Here are a few tips on how to use toilet paper rolls to house seedlings:

  1. Make a series of 1- to 1.5-inch cuts around one end of the roll, approximately a half an inch apart.
  2. Fold the cut sections in toward the center of the roll. This will create the bottom of your pot.
  3. Place the seed pots on a tray, plate or bowl. If they seem to not be standing up well on their own, you can support them a bit by tying some twine around the whole group of pots. Or reinforce the folds of the cardboard for more sturdiness. 
  4. Fill the pots with soil, moisten the soil and pot and plant your seeds. Maintain as you would any seeds sown indoors.Typically, you will have to wait a few weeks before you can remove the plants and embed them into the garden.
  5. You may want to acclimate the  plants to the garden before putting the pods (or just the plants i the pods) into the ground. To do this, take your tray or seeding bin out to the garden for a few hours each day.  This can ease the stress on plants that sometimes occurs during the transplantation process. 
  6. Plant the toilet paper seed pods in the garden, cardboard tube and all. If the cardboard is sticking up above the soil's surface, simply tear off any excess. If you don't, it will wick moisture away from the roots. You can also cut off the bottom and just plant the tube of dirt that was sitting in the toilet paper pod.