Monday, April 13, 2015

Toilet Paper Tube Seed Starters

So last Saturday I went a little seed crazy.  I bought so many packs in anticipation of the growing season ahead,  most of which will be planted directly into the soil outside, but I wanted to start my hollyhocks sooner.  Buying all the odds and ends to start plants from seed can really add up, so I opted to try out the toilet paper tube method.
It is super simple - cut 4, 1/2" slits  equally spaced on the tube to form flaps.  Fold down the flaps to form a box on the bottom.  Fill with starting soil and start your seeds accordingly.  I put all of mine in a plastic tub so when I accidentally over water them it is well contained.   Super simple right?!

  • So after less than a week I have germination in quite a few of the tubes.  I did this with no heating mat, just my oven... I warmed my oven up to 150F, let it cool so as to not overheat the seeds (I hear that can be an issue in germination) and popped the tray back in.  Within two days I had my first seed germinate!  And within 4 days I have 15 of the tubes with at least one seedling, now day 5 and I have 20 tubes with seedlings .  Apparently hollyhock seeds are easy to start, or my oven method is amazing.  TBD
  • I should also note I have cling wrap over top of my tub to help retain moisture and act as a mini greenhouse as soon as I start exposing the seedlings to sunlight
  • I have seen some people cut the tubes in half and then box the bottom, because hollyhocks grow a deep taproot I wanted them to have plenty of depth to grow before I transplant them.  For other flowers and veggies cutting the tubes in half may be an acceptable method.
  • When you go to plant these I would suggest that you remove the tube, while the tube may disintegrate in the soil it is not guaranteed and could wick moisture away from your plant and limit growth
So what do you think,  Is this a method you would try out?  Ah look how happy my little hollyhocks are, who knew how full my heart could be from just growing seeds.  Pardon me now while I go become a little bit more like my mother.

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