Here’s a great way to combine both recycling and organic gardening! Now, the idea may sound silly at first glance, but look again: toilet paper roll tubes are small, easily portable, and provide ample space for a long root run. They’re free, and they’re everywhere. The tubes themselves are made of low-quality cardboard, and as such are completely biodegradable. So rather than relegate them to your compost heap (or worse, the landfill), why not put them to one more good use?
Add to your collection of seedling pots by making your own biodegradable newspaper pots. We’ll guide you through how to make them below. Try using toilet paper or paper towel tubes for longer rooted seedlings, so they have more space. And, newspaper pots for other vegetables and flowers. Protect your transplants by using biodegradable pots. Here’s how:
Try Bean Seedlings in Toilet Paper Roll Tubes
Here’s how you do it: stand your toilet paper tubes on end in a plastic bin, and carefully fill them with a potting medium. Pack it down tightly, and then plant your seeds in the open top end. Water the tubes regularly, and in a few days you’ll have ranks of healthy green seedlings poking their heads up.
When the seedlings are large enough, plant them in your garden, tubes and all. Like a peat pot, the tube will soon break down, offering no resistance to the plant’s roots. By the way, you can use paper towel roll tubes the same way. They work especially well for runner beans.
Grow Seedlings in Newspaper Pots
Don’t forget about the newspaper pots! You can buy a Newspaper Pot Maker for DIY Biodegradable Seedling Starter Pots like this one. They make seedlings pots that are 2 inches in diameter and about 2 inches high.
We like these DIY Biodegradable Seedling Starter Pots because they have a bottom, keeping the starter mix from making a mess in the tray. All you need is a pot maker and some paper scraps. It’s easiest to use newspaper that has been cut in 3.5 inches wide by 10 inches long. You can even use longer pieces of newspaper if it will be awhile before transplanting and want a thicker walled pot.
Want more information on making newspaper seedling pots?
Making Paper Pots: PDF from University of California Cooperative Extension
Starting Garden Transplants from Home: PDF for download from Iowa State University Extension
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