A garden is the best alternative therapy.

Monday night I stayed up until 11 PM planting eight broccoli plants.  Not that it’s especially difficult to sow broccoli seeds that it would take me until nearly midnight to do so …  I was actually brushing my teeth, lamenting the fact that the three stores I checked had run out of the paper planting cups I wanted to use for starting my seeds.

“I could use egg cartons,” I thought, “but then I’d have to find a home for a dozen eggs in the refrigerator.  I don’t have any paper cups.  What can I use?”

Then I opened the closet door and stared into the closet.  My eyes fell upon several rolls of toilet paper.

“Aha!  I wonder if I can reuse old toilet paper tubes!”

Call me crazy, but I save my toilet paper tubes.  I can’t give you a reason why, other than I think I planned on using them for starting fires, or recycling them, or finding some other use.  I opened up a canister full of flattened tubes and took out a few.

Then I jumped on the internet and typed in, “plant seeds in toilet paper rolls”.

Google is an amazing thing.  The first link that came up was a DIY tutorial* on fashioning planters out of toilet paper tubes!   Well, the creative juices combined with a little gardening fever kicked in and my teeth brushing got put on hold.  I went to task making several planters out of the tubes.

I ended up planting eight organic Calabrese Broccoli seeds, obtained from Seeds of Change.  I sowed them about 1/2″ deep in Jiffy Seed Starting Mix, misted them well, then placed them outside on the wall of the herb garden.  There they’ve sat for the past three days.

Then, as I was letting the dog out to go to bathroom before bed last night, I discovered that seven of the seeds had already sprouted.    “That worked!”  So far, anyway.  Nonetheless, it was encouraging, so I planted eight more tonight in the same way.  I’ll let then grow a couple of weeks before I transplant them.  I still have to prepare the beds!

The broccoli sprouts (three days from planting)

The broccoli sprouts (three days from planting)

* This tutorial is very simple and easy to follow, but I would make one suggestion:  use a small piece of duct tape to tape the top of the tube.  After the tube gets wet, it has a tendency to unravel.  A little tape will hold it in place – just not masking or clear tape.

More broccoli seeds planted in toilet paper tubes.

More broccoli seeds planted in toilet paper tubes.


Comments on: "Sowing broccoli seeds … in toilet paper rolls?" (3)

  1. Hi! I have tried planting some broad bean seeds in toilet roll tube but they have all got white mould growing on the side of them after about 3 days. Any advice? Is it safe to keep them in there or will the mould destroy the seedlings? I am also getting the same problem with some other seeds I planted in some cardboard style cups from the garden centre. Is this a normal thing with cardboardy style planters or have I got some kind of fungal problem in my conservatory?! I’m a total novice so never grown anything before. Any advice would be amazing! Thanks.

  2. roundrockgarden said:

    It’s hard to say exactly. I’ve had this happen, too, and had either no bad effects because of it, or the mold colonizes the top of the soil and leads to dampening off, causing the seedling to rot at the base.

    If the mold is only on the outside, you can probably still save them if you make some adjustments. Mold requires moist environments and most of the time is a result of overwatering. Are you using a sterile seed-starting medium? If so, I think the problem would be overwatering, high humidity and/or not enough air circulation. A light fan might help, but be sure not to have it set too high, which can stress out your seedlings and cause damage. I’d also separate your little planters so air can circulate all around them and don’t water them until they completely dry out.

    • Yes the mould did start to go on top of the soil so i scraped it off and crossed my fingers! I might have over watered, I have never grown anything before this year so am still learning! It said a good watering so maybe I took it too far?!!! Before they sprouted I had them in a heated propagator so that maybe didn’t help. Then I moved them on to their own shelf out of the propagator away from the other seedlings but that was fairly near a radiator! The seed medium was seedling compost so the over watering/humidity makes a lot of sense! Thanks so much for the info and getting back to me! Lots of help.

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