Gardening or recycling?

@mentalward (14695)
United States
February 15, 2011 11:21am CST
I'm not sure, maybe both. I've been an avid gardener for decades. Every spring, I start some seeds indoors for a new vegetable garden. I've used all kinds of containers for doing this, right down to yogurt containers and the containers that eggs come in. Those are great for the smaller seeds. Now, there's not much I don't know about gardening but a friend of mine recently taught me something that is so simple I've been kicking myself (figuratively, of course) for not having thought of it sooner, especially since I wrote about this particular item here awhile ago. Toilet paper rolls. I wanted to know if there was any good way to recycle them. They seem like an awful waste just to throw out or even just throw into the compost pile. Well, they're also great for starting vegetable seeds!!! Just fill with seed starting medium (if it's damp it will pack nicely without falling out the bottom), poke a seed into it and sit it on a tray. In it's original size, it's great for larger seeds like melons, beans, etc. They can be cut in half and used for smaller seeds. (Smaller seeds need less soil initially.) I've also applied this to paper towel rolls since they're basically the same thing, just longer. I cut them into thirds. Now that I know about this awesome recycling of toilet paper rolls, I'm going to save the rolls that Christmas wrapping paper comes on. (I start a LOT of seeds inside because our growing season is not long enough for a lot of the veggies I grow. ) I felt like such a dummy when my friend told me about this! For those of you who start seeds indoors, do you use these rolls for seed-starting? If not, what do you use? Are there any other recycling tips out there regarding gardening?
6 people like this
17 responses
@commanderxo (1496)
• Canada
15 Feb 11
I gotta admit, that's a new one on me (or, "off me", as it were). Hmmp? What a great idea. My mother was the one with the green thumb, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this isn't something she would've know about. Now, I've tried to start growing tomato plant seeds indoors in little ceramic pots before transferring them to the outdoors, and...for a while there, the little sprouts were doin' fine. Then after a few days of witnessing the birth of my tiny babies, they shriveled up, and passed away....a very sad day for mommy indeed. Since then I've never tried to grow them again. But, with this new tidbit of info, I just might give it one more go. Who knows? I just might "wipe up" with this new gardening idea. Thanks for the tip...and, bio-degradable too, to (a-hem) "beet" all. Terrific idea. cdrxo
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
16 Feb 11
They're great if you plan on having "leeks", too! Okay, I kinda stole that from the second comment but it was too good to pass up. Actually, the second comment had me folding paper to make paper pots. I had thought about doing that over the years but never got around to it. I wish I had, now, because they're so easy! I didn't use newspaper because I don't have any right now but I found that magazines that are stapled in the center (where the paper is twice the size of the magazine and folded over) are perfect for folding into pots. You really should try tomatoes again. I've been growing them since I was a kid. Once I was on my own, I started adding more and more things until I had a good-sized garden every year and, now that I have unlimited room, I can grow even more stuff! Maybe your problem was not enough water? Too much water? Too hot? Maybe a cold spell killed them? Seedlings are subject to a problem called "damping off" where they develop a fungus at the soil level and that will kill them. The soil and the container needs to be sterile. It also helps to use water that hasn't been chlorinated. I filter all the water I use for my seedlings. Once they're outside, they get what they get, rain or well water. They're really not that hard to grow as long as you learn a few basic things like what I just mentioned. Try it! You may just surprise yourself. Geez, now I'm more anxious than ever to see my babies poking through the soil!
2 people like this
• Canada
16 Feb 11
Hehehehehehe. You are funny. You've got a wacky sense of humor too. I like that. ...'spose it wouldn't be a good idea to plant the leeks in with the peas? Well, you are most likely correct on the tomatoes. I just used tap water; but I will take your expert advice, and give it another go. Thanks for the tips babe. Cheers luv; cdrxo
1 person likes this
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
17 Feb 11
Oh, man. Leeks with peas. You know I'll be laughing while I'm out there in a few weeks planting peas because I'll be thinking of planting leeks with them. Aw, heck, now I'm going to have to plant leeks, too. I wasn't going to since I'm planting spring onions, regular onions, garlic and chives. I figured I had enough in that family but now I have to go get leek seeds and, of course, plant them around the pees... I mean, peas. I just hope my TURDles don't come up from the lake and eat my leeks and peas. Okay, I'm going to stop right here. I'm getting a bit, uhh, ridiculous. It's late, I'm tired. Nite!
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
15 Feb 11
Doesn't the soil fall out the bottom? It's a great idea but I can't picture how you would prevent fall out other than closing the bottom as we used to do coin wrappers. It would certainly make me feel better about stuff--I hate to waste anything even though I know it will be recycled--I'M not using it!
2 people like this
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
15 Feb 11
I guess the bottom could be turned in, like the coin rolls. That would be good if you plan to move them. I was thinking of packing as many of them as I can into a tray, then filling them all without lifting them. As long as the rolls aren't lifted and the soil is moist, it should clump together and not come out the bottom. I just made two dozen paper pots. I don't have any newspaper at the moment so I used catalogs, the kind that are stapled in the center. I had seen those "newspaper pot makers" but never thought to buy one because I couldn't see why they couldn't be made without a "form". I'm glad I didn't waste my money now because they were so easy to make, just a bunch of folding. I normally buy peat pots and pellets but now all I need is the seed starting medium and I already have a lot of that from last year. Garden soil can be sterilized for seed starting by baking it in the oven for awhile so, if I run out of the peat mixture, I can always use the garden soil. I'm so cheap, does it show? LOL
1 person likes this
@lilaclady (28240)
• Australia
16 Feb 11
wow you are so good, congratulations on the recycling, there should be more people like you, i think it is a very good idea...simple but very good.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
17 Feb 11
Thank you, lilac. (I love your name. I'm a big lilac fan.) I recycle whenever and wherever I can. First, for the environment but also because I hate to waste money buying things that don't need to be bought. I think more and more people are learning how to recycle because of the awful economy. I've also noticed more and more gardening supplies in stores which makes me think that more and more people are starting to grow their own vegetables in order to save some money. I love gardening mainly because the food I grow always seems to taste so much better than what is sold in the stores. Whenever I can lessen the price of gardening, I will.
1 person likes this
@lilaclady (28240)
• Australia
17 Feb 11
It is strange how many people love purple and lilac colours....its very good to recycle and I am like you I hate to see waste but gardening I am not good at and I am not really an doors person especially since I had a computer.
@yoyo1198 (3643)
• United States
16 Feb 11
Hi, mentalward....I've always saved the toilet paper and paper towel rolls, but just to send to the recycle truck which hits my neighborhood every two weeks. Haven't thought to use 'em as seed starters but you've got a good idea there. I don't know if I'm going to be able to put in a garden this year. I'd love to do it and would enjoy any results but the body isn't able. But I will pass this on to friends and see if they may want my rolls.
@yoyo1198 (3643)
• United States
16 Feb 11
When I receive a package in the mail I always save the box and the packing paper which is just like newspaper except without the print. I got one today and I've squirreled away the box and paper for later. I recycle all of that whenever I need paper stuff and box for mailing my own packages. I belong to a book swap group and use boxes and paper frequently. Good that your husband got the stuff scared into him. He was on a deadly spiral. I didn't realize it took so long for the spinal fluid to regenerate. I thought it would be a few days to a week.
16 Feb 11
rECICLAR ES MEJOR, PERMITA DARLE DOS Y TRS VES USOS A UN MISMO MATERIAL. EVITA QUE CONSUMAMOS NUEVOS RECURSOS, PUDIENDO PERFECTAMENTE REUTILIZAR LO YA EXISTENTES.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
16 Feb 11
You need to speak ENGLISH here. It's in the rules.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
16 Feb 11
Well, at least I was able to translate what you wrote and I agree, recycling is always better than using new. It's good for the environment and keeps money in our pockets.
@marguicha (101905)
• Chile
15 Feb 11
I sometimes like to change the seedlings to a bigger pot before actually place them on the ground. I use for that big containers made from milk cartons to which I make holes at the bottom. Those are fine for the plants for my flower beds too as I have to dig the earth bfore planting them to take the weeds out.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
16 Feb 11
I never thought about using milk cartons as pots but that's a great idea. I've often done what you do, taking the seedlings started in the little pots and put them into bigger containers because they needed more soil but it was still too cold to plant them outside. I'll start saving my milk cartons now! Great tip, thank you!
@marguicha (101905)
• Chile
16 Feb 11
They also do a lot better if they grow a little bit more in a special soil without having to fight with weeds.
@buenavida (8194)
• Sweden
15 Feb 11
After I have made tea, I sometimes let the tea leaves dry over night and then pour them over to a plastic jar and save them until it is time to plant flowers and be mixed with the soil. They can also be used above the soil where they help to keep the soil moist. Organic material can make a good cover to prevent weeds from growing. The thicker the layer is, the more efficient!
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
16 Feb 11
That's a great idea! I make my own compost but don't usually think to put the used tea leaves in it. After I plant my little plants, I usually put either newspaper or cardboard down between them. That helps to keep the weeds under control and they are biodegradable as well. I've never used plastic mulch. I was also very fortunate to get two tons of wood chips this past fall. The county was trimming trees around power lines and one of the guys driving one of the trucks came and asked if I'd like to have "some wood chips". I had no idea it was two tons until he dumped the stuff on our land. THEN he tells me it's about two tons. Well, what doesn't turn to compost will be great to put around my plants.
1 person likes this
@buenavida (8194)
• Sweden
16 Feb 11
One of the best covering materials is fresh grass clippings as when they dry a bit, they will stay where you put them and don´t blow away if it´s windy. Just add more covering as the plants grow, and - good bye, weeding!! I learned once that chips from birch is OK for plants you use for food, but fur trees can have something in them that is harmful for them. Perhaps you can test with small amounts first. If the chips come from fur trees, I guess they are good for bushes and some flowers, that also need to be covered. Happy gardening!!
@ElicBxn (60895)
• United States
15 Feb 11
well, I don't garden, but that sounds like a great way to do it we have a longer growing season, but some of the more tender things have to be started early because they die in the summer so you have to be picking them in May or June
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
15 Feb 11
You reminded me of the early spring plantings, like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, etc. Yes, they have to be planted early because they don't survive in the heat. I suppose I should be starting them right now! THANK YOU for reminding me of them!!! I think this is going to be another crazy weather year. So far, our winter has been a bit colder than normal but it's supposed to be in the low 70's by the end of the week, which is kinda crazy since it got down to 29 last night. I just hope we don't have the extreme heat and drought we had last year. Yeah, I'm going now to get some spinach and cabbage started.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60895)
• United States
15 Feb 11
we got to 80 yesterday or there abouts, but just a couple of weeks ago we had 96 HOURS of below freezing temps, unusual for this part of Texas...
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
16 Feb 11
I'm not one that has a green thumb but my b/f does. He plants stuff all the time. I bet he will love that idea. He usually starts his seeds in tiny pots. I like the egg carton idea too. I might have to try and start a seed or two myself this summer.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
17 Feb 11
Yeah, you really should try a few at least. I remember the first time I grew something from a seed. It was a bean plant. It gave me the "gardening bug" and I've never recovered. I knew I wouldn't have enough cardboard rolls so I made some pots out of paper. I didn't have newspaper so I tried pages from old magazines and they worked great! I now have about four dozen paper pots along with the toilet paper rolls that I've collected so far and the egg cartons. I normally start around 20 dozen seeds indoors so I'm going to need a lot of these things! I'm so glad I learned about making my own because I used to buy either peat pots or peat pellets. Recycling old magazines and newspapers this way is going to be a huge money saver! Tell your b/f good luck with his garden this year and I hope you try a few things yourself and have awesome luck, along with great weather and everything else that goes along with a successful garden.
• United States
16 Feb 11
If you have acid soil that needs sweetening, the best way to start the seeds is in half an eggshell. When you're ready to transplant, dig the hole, then poke a dime-sized hole in the bottom of the eggshell for the roots to get out, and plant in the new hole. The sharp edges of the eggshell will discourage slugs and snails from eating your transplant. I find that toilet paper and paper towel rolls don't work that well, but since I heat my house part of the year with windfall and deadfall, I flatten them and save them up for starting fires. Tea leaves and coffee grounds are full of nutrients and I always scatter them on my garden. Coffee also keeps the deer away as they don't like strong smells.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
17 Feb 11
Thank you for that tip about eggshells. I normally crush them up and toss them in the compost pile. I have pretty neutral soil but do need to change the pH around my blueberry bushes. Maybe the eggshell thing will work there. I learned about eggshells and slugs awhile ago. I only have issues with slugs in my flower garden. They usually just attack my hostas which is why I started reading about natural ways to keep the slugs away. As for deer, I make a spray from very hot peppers and spray it around my veggie garden and on my fruit trees and berry bushes. So far, it has kept not only deer away but also squirrels, chipmunks and even birds.
@singout (980)
• United States
16 Feb 11
Hi Mentalward. Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall hearing that the toilet paper roll (core) was going to be gradually discontinued and replaceed with one without. In fact I've seen them. I thought it was just a novelty. But I really love your idea and will probably use it when I finally settle down from my traveling.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
17 Feb 11
Well, that certainly fits with today's newer standards, at least those among retailers. Get rid of the roll. Wouldn't that make unrolling it, you know, as needed, a bit difficult? I'd think the paper would get all scrunched up as it is rolled and rolled around on the holder. Maybe I should save the rolls to use with the new roll-less toilet paper when it comes out. Now, don't rush that gardening on my account! Get all the traveling you can done first. That's much more exciting. I'd love to travel but I'm just not in a position to do it yet.
@elitess (5072)
• Ipswich, England
16 Feb 11
Hello mentalward. I am not able to do gardening at the moment, because i am living in a flat apartment, but i will probably do my own share of gardening when we will move to England, so yes, any kind of tips are appreciated and i must say i never thought of using toilet paper rolls or wrapping rolls for that matter, but it sound a clever and cheap way to use them so i will keep it in mind.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
17 Feb 11
Oh, I can give you many more ideas and tips when you're ready. Just let me know when. I've been gardening for decades now. It's just so funny that I never thought about the rolls being made into pots before. I'm usually the one who gives my friend tips and ideas like these but this time she turned the table on me. I'm so glad she did!
1 person likes this
@ebuscat (5949)
• Philippines
16 Feb 11
For me gardening so that your mind have good habit to it and yu have near to paradise on earth as what Jehovah God promise.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
17 Feb 11
Gardening has always made me feel very relaxed. My problems just seem to melt away when I'm in my garden which is why I love it so much.
@Ichiru101 (285)
• United States
16 Feb 11
I am a beginning at gardening, so I do not understand half the stuff you are saying. But I think gardening and recycling are good for the environment. The spring is coming really fast I look forward to brushing up on my gardening skills. Good for the environment and good for your pockets.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
16 Feb 11
I wish you much luck with your gardening, Ichiru. I love it. You will learn as you go along. I'm still learning things and I've been gardening since I was a little girl, at least five decades ago! Spring is coming fast here, too. I've been outside on the really nice days, pulling weeds and getting the garden area ready for the new plants. That won't be for awhile yet but it's my favorite thing to do so I'm really anxious to get going on it. I agree that it is good for the environment and for our pockets! Plus, anything you grow yourself always seems to taste so much better than store-bought!
@peavey (16866)
• United States
15 Feb 11
I tried using those toilet tissue rolls but wasn't happy with them because they fell apart after awhile (from the water). That made it hard to pick up the plants to transplant. I planted the whole thing, though, cardboard roll and all, so that helped. Now I save those small thin plastic pots that hold seedlings from the nursery or store. If I'm careful with them, they hold up several seasons. When I run out of those, I make pots from newspaper.
• United States
15 Feb 11
I do know you can clean out glass containers and re use them for such things as pen/pencil holders and you can paint on them or even wrap ribbon around them and make them cute and you can also do this with cans of soup or vegetables or any cans at all. If you have kids alot of cereal boxes come in handy because they can glue shapes and stuff to them and give them something to do while yourself also. Just put your mind to work and keep them going. I know preschools will take almost anything that is recycleable like egg cartons, cans, toilet and paper towel rolls. They use these for kids crafts and are able to not spend so much money when they have people like myself donating. Its a great cause and a good feeling too.
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
15 Feb 11
Thank you for all those tips! There is a pre-school/elementary school right down the road from us and I'm going to see if they could use anything I have that is recyclable. I really hate throwing anything away that can be reused. I save small glass jars for when I make jams or jellies to give away, as long as the jars are pretty. I also save them to organize my craft supplies. Maybe the school could use the ones I normally take to the recycling place. I also save the bags inside the boxes that cereal comes in. When I dry fruits, I re-seal them in the bags and they keep for a long time.
@cherriefic (4805)
• Philippines
11 Jan 16
I'll go for recycling as there's no way I can do gardening from where I live right now.