If, like me, you are gardening this weekend (now that it is finally spring) you might be running out of pots, compost and space to put everything as you desperately try to catch up. I can’t help with the last two things, but I do have a solution to running out of pots.
The humble toilet roll tube*, often underestimated and just popped into the recycling, can be turned into the perfect sized pot for individual seeds such as beans, squash, parsnips or sweetcorn to name but a few. Obviously, being a tube, it comes with the challenge of having a hole at each end. With some scissors, a little bit of time and the odd fiddly bit, this can be sorted out, giving you a pot that will compost itself.
* If you don’t like the idea of using toilet roll tubes for hygiene reasons, just use kitchen roll inners.
First, squash your toilet roll tube flat. Then cut a slit up from the base half way across, just less than half of the diameter of the tube. (I’m sure there’s an exact formula somewhere, but if you have a hole in the base after folding the first one just cut a slightly longer slit next time and vice versa if you have to much card overlapping after you fold it.)
Squash the tube flat the other way, so that the first slits are along the folds at the sides, and repeat the cutting. You will now have four slits cut. Begin folding them in, ensuring one end of each flap is under the previous one. The last part is a little fiddly as you need to tuck the final corner under (see photos), but then you should end up with a secure, flat base.
Fill the tube with compost and you’re ready to plant! The beauty of these is that they can be planted straight into the ground once the seedlings are established and the last frost has passed (or whenever your plant is supposed to go out). As long as you don’t over water the seedlings, the card should hold together until they are potted on or planted out.
If you are trying to reduce your plastic usage, these seem like a really simple place to start. They cost basically nothing, and the card won’t harm the soil, in fact many people add card to their compost bins. (My son collected the tubes all winter so we’ve planted a lot of our seeds in them!) Also, it isn’t going into a recycling bin and travelling miles in a refuse lorry to a plant where it will be processed further, thus reducing its carbon footprint-even if only slightly.
Do you know of any other eco friendly alternatives for gardening? Feel free to share, we are trying to use less plastic or re use things we already have rather than buying more plastic based items.