Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Under Starter's Orders

Look what my lovely hubby has been spending his evenings doing. There's over 100 toilet roll inners all ready to be planted up. When I first started recycling the inners I used to scrunch a bit of newspaper up to go in the bottom of the tube to stop the compost from falling out, but then I came across the idea of making a bottom from the tube itself. Four cuts are made in the bottom of the tube and these are folded and tucked into each other, like the bottom of a cardboard box. It stops the compost from falling out and the seedling can be planted out without removing it from the toilet roll inner, preventing any root disturbance. The toilet roll inner will just rot away once it is in the ground.

This week I have been given two awards, well actually it's one award but given to me by two people, Tanya from Allotments 4 You, and Kella at Kella's Musings on Growing Her Own, Wildlife and Her Brand of Parenting. Thank you both very much. It is the Happiness Award and has been given as my blog makes them happy.

There are some rules to the award. You must link to the blog who gives you the award, list 10 things which make you happy, and pass the award on to other blogs which make you happy.

So as this is a gardening blog I will list 10 things, in no particular order, about gardening which make me happy.

Being outside in the fresh air.
Seeing a weed free patch.
Having a hobby which the whole family can take part in.
Starting off the first seeds of the year.
Producing fresh food.
Growing things which I've never tried before.
Encouraging lots of wildlife (except slugs).
Sharing my harvest.
Having a colourful garden.
Seeing everything growing.

And now for the blogs which I would like to pass the award to.

These are some of the blogs which make me smile.


  1. Congratulations on your award Jo!

    That's a great tip for making the ends secure - how clever is your hubby!!

    Jeanne x

  2. You can maybe scotch a nasty rumour I have heard. It has been said that toilet roll inners grow mould very quickly, and that newspaper-based pots are preferable.

    In your experience, is mould an issue?

  3. Just to confirm nasty rumour (The Idiot Gardner), I planted some peas in toilet rolls in the autumn in anticipation of planting them out for overwintering. All mine went mouldy and I didn't use them, being fairly new at all this I didn't know if the mould would hamper the seeds.

  4. Thank you for my award! really sweet of you.
    I am also posting about toilet rolls at the moment. Great minds they say...

  5. Hi Jo, I'm loving your 10 happy things about the garden.

    I also use toilet rolls but never thought to fold the ends over to secure the bottoms so good tip. I usually put 6 rolls to a tomato punnet container, then using funnel made from a stiff piece of cardboard like from a cereal box, I funnel the compost in packing it fairly tight but not compacted tight and then water from below by resting the punnet (the ones with holes at the bottom) filled toilet roll pots into a tray of water.

    I generally use them for long rooting plants like peas/ beans and sunflowers. I do get mould on some of the tubes but have found that if I don't over water this is not an issue but either way it doesn't harm the plants. I think the mould is the sort that lives on dead decaying material and not healthy living tissue.

    A note about newspaper pots which I also use from time to time, is that they also grow mould but again if you don't over water and there is enough air circulation around the pots then its not much of an issue.

  6. Congrats on being on the dobbies list.

    I am busy saving up loo rolls for my carrots. I used them last year but found lots of them scattered around the garden after the dog discovered them!

  7. ..and you said your husband was not romantic!! Now THAT is romance!! In a caring way!!

    I normally use loo rolls, but the mould thing does my nut in - yes they go really mouldy and look really skanky. Unsure if it affects the plants though...Cat

  8. love the idea about cutting the bottom of the tube...thanks for the tip..and glad you liked the award!!!

    Oh and I have peat pots them from home bargains very cheap and they were great last year...hoping to get more for this season!!

  9. I never thought of using toilet rolls for seed starting! What a great idea!
    Well, now it’s too late for this year, but I can start saving them for next spring. Thank you for this information.

    Congratulations on the award!

  10. What a wonderful and patient man you have Jo. My loo rolls are shredded up for my Can- O- Worms and the worms duly munch them up. Thanks so much for passing the award on on to me :) I will put my thinking cap on and put some words together soon.

  11. Brilliant idea, I may have to give it a try at some point. I have some wildflower seeds that will go in on the road leading up to the house and I want to put in more bulbs. I also want to put in more lavender this year. Pat your hubby on the back for all his hard work, I like the fact that your whole family is involved. Congratulations on the award, I always enjoy your blog.

  12. Thanks, Jeanne. I won't let my hubby hear you calling him clever, he'll get a big head.

    Mould does grow on the toilet roll inners, The Idiot Gardener, but it isn't an issue. It doesn't cause any harm to the seedlings, it just looks a bit nasty. I have never used newspaper pots so I wouldn't know if it's the same with them.

    Thank you for visiting, Happy Plotter. The mould wouldn't have hampered your pea seedlings, it's just a bit unsightly.

    You're welcome, Allot of Veg. I wouldn't say that I've got a great mind, mine's more forgetful that anything.

    I also use toilet roll inners for the same type of seedlings as you, Kella, beans, peas, sunflowers etc. The other option would be root trainers, but they're so expensive and toilet roll inners cost nothing. It's good to recycle. Thanks again for the award.

    Thank you, Natalie. It was a surprise to be included on the Dobbies list. I think you will have to hide your seedlings this year if your dog has taken a liking to them.

    I suppose it is a little romantic, Cat. I won't be raising my hopes for a valentines card though. I've used toilet roll inners for a few years now and the mould has never affected the seedlings.

    Thanks again for the award, Tanya. I've used peat pots in the past but you don't get such a deep root run in them, toilet roll inners are preferable for this, and they're free.

    Thank you, Vrtlarica. I save my toilet roll inners all the year round, and having two kids in the house I find I have plenty for when it comes to seed sowing time.

    You're welcome, Anna. I look forward to reading your post. The Can O Worms is another good way to recycle your toilet roll inners. I've also heard of people blanching their leeks with them, who would have thought?

    Thank you for your kind words, Kat. It is lovely that what started out as my hobby has now turned into a hobby for the whole family. I'm sure your road leading up to the house will look lovely covered in wild flowers and the bees and butterflies will love them too. I'm also partial to lavender.

  13. Wow, all neatly stacked. I have been saving them since i've had my allotment. I have some in the flat now, but now as many as yours. Wow. Like Kella I grow legumes in mine and they do get mouldy, but once planted it doesn't seem to harm the seedling. I especially love the idea of cutting the bottom of the loo rolls, that is something, I don't do and may benefit from this year as i'll be startingthe seeds at home, not in a greenhouse.

    Congratulations on your Award too. Its nice to be recognised by fellow readers.

  14. Wow what a fab idea to use toilet rolls to grow things in. We have a little veggie patch in the garden but have just got a big allotment and I am now rummaging around blogs for ideas - hope you don't mind if I borrow that idea :-)

  15. congrats on your reward ;0)
    my toilet roll inners are ready to go ...must get sowing this week!

  16. Thank you, Mangocheeks. Yes, it's lovely to be recognised by fellow bloggers. One of the advantages to having two children in the house is the amount of toilet paper we go through, I end up with so many inners which I can use to start seeds off.

    Thank you for visiting, Scented Sweetpeas. Of course I don't mind if you borrow the idea. As you can see from the other comments the inners do go mouldy, but don't let it put you off, it doesn't harm the seedlings at all.

    Thank you for popping by, Lynda. I haven't started sowing anything yet, I'm just waiting for the weather to warm up a little and then I'll be off.

  17. Thanks, I have already rummaged in our house and found 6 toilet roll inners (we have 3 kiddies and like you say toilet rolls are always used up quickly). Thanks for the info re them going mouldy - will not panic if that happens :-) I am still so happy to have found a great eco friendly way to plant my seeds up and then plant them straight out in their little toilet roll cacoons - genious!

  18. You're welcome, Scented Sweetpeas. Now that you have an allotment you'll find that you're saving all sorts of things that can be used down there.


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