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DIY Toilet Paper Rolls for Seed Starting

Learn how to start seeds DIY style by planting them in toilet paper rolls. Our step-by-step guide will show you how! Cardboard toilet paper rolls are ideal biodegradable seed-starting pots and work wonderfully for transplanting fragile seedlings.





In the pursuit of sustainable living and gardening, every small step counts. One such eco-friendly practice gaining popularity is planting seeds in toilet paper rolls. Not only does this method reduce waste by repurposing cardboard tubes, but it also nurtures seedlings in a natural and biodegradable environment and makes the transplanting process easier. When it's time to transplant you can plant the biodegradable toilet paper rolls along with the seedlings. If you are new to seed starting, I recommend beginning with hearty seeds. Here is a list of seeds that are generally easier to grow and more forgiving for beginners.


1. Beans

2. Peas

3. Sunflowers

4. Zucchini

5. Radishes

6. Carrots

7. Lettuce

8. Spinach

9. Kale

10. Cucumbers




I eagerly await this time of year with the promise of pleasant weather and the opportunity to plant seeds. I enjoy beginning the growing process indoors and witnessing the magic of tiny seeds sprouting and flourishing. However, transplanting seedlings can be daunting due to their fragility, and sadly, not all survive. Thankfully, using toilet paper rolls simplifies the transplanting process significantly. The biodegradable toilet paper rolls eliminate the need to remove the seedling from the starter pot during transplanting. Easily transplant your seedlings to larger pots or outdoors by keeping them in biodegradable cardboard tubes. This makes the transplant process much simpler and prevents damage to the roots or delicate stems.


Using toilet paper rolls as seed starter pots is also a cost-effective alternative to buying expensive seed-starting equipment. While investing in such equipment might be beneficial if you plan to use it repeatedly, for smaller-scale gardening or occasional seed starting, repurposing toilet paper rolls can save you money and serve as a practical solution. I reused a tray from last year's seeds and saved some toilet paper rolls in advance. When it was time to start my seeds, all I needed was soil and seeds. This method was convenient.



Here's what I love about using toilet paper rolls as seed-starting pots.


Healthy Root Development: The porous nature of cardboard allows for air circulation and drainage, promoting healthier root growth and reducing the risk of overwatering because it's bottomless. This year, I've had the healthiest seedlings using toilet paper rolls. In my opinion, the cardboard rolls are ideal for watering as they dry quickly. Unlike traditional seed starting pots, which tend to retain too much water due to limited airflow, toilet paper rolls allow for ample airflow and drainage.


Saving Money: I appreciate not needing to purchase seed starting pots. While there are various options available, including biodegradable ones, it's great to save money whenever possible. Also, every small effort counts when aiming to minimize waste.


Important Tips

Don't over water seedlings. Over watering seedlings can lead to several issues, including root rot, mold, and damping-off disease, which can ultimately kill the seedlings. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings helps promote healthy root development and prevents conditions that favor fungal growth. It also encourages the seedlings to develop stronger roots as they search for water in the soil. Overall, providing proper drainage and allowing the soil to dry out between waterings helps maintain optimal growing conditions and supports the health and vigor of the seedlings.






Keep the soil loose. Loose soil offers several benefits when planting seeds.

1. Improved Oxygenation: Loose soil allows oxygen to penetrate more easily, promoting better respiration for seed germination and root development.

2. Enhanced Root Growth: With less resistance, roots can penetrate the soil more effectively, leading to stronger root systems and healthier plants.

3. Optimized Water Absorption: Loose soil facilitates water absorption and retention, ensuring adequate moisture for seed germination and early plant growth.

4. Reduced Compaction: Loose soil is less prone to compaction, providing ample space for root expansion and reducing the risk of stunted growth.

5. Easier Seed Germination: Seeds can germinate more easily in loose soil, as they encounter fewer barriers when sending out roots and shoots.


Leave space between the toilet paper rolls.  When arranging the toilet paper rolls in the tray, ensure there's a gap of one to two inches between each cardboard tube to promote adequate airflow. This helps the tubes dry out between waterings, preventing moisture buildup that could lead to mold if the tubes are tightly packed together.



How to Plant Seeds in Toilet Paper Rolls:


1. Collect Toilet Paper Rolls: Save empty cardboard toilet paper rolls, ensuring they are clean and dry.


2. Prepare the Rolls: Cut each toilet paper roll in half.


3. Fill with Soil: Place the cut toilet paper rolls upright in a tray or shallow container. Fill each roll with potting soil, leaving about half an inch of space at the top. When arranging the toilet paper rolls in the tray, ensure there is a gap of one to two inches between each cardboard tube.


4. Plant Seeds: Follow seed packet instructions for planting depth and spacing. Plant seeds directly into the soil-filled toilet paper rolls.


5. Water: Water the seeds gently, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. Place the tray in a warm, sunny spot.


6. Transplant Seedlings: Once the seedlings have outgrown the toilet paper rolls and the risk of frost has passed, transplant them—rolls and all—directly into the garden or a larger pot. The cardboard will naturally degrade over time.


Planting seeds in toilet paper rolls presents a simple yet impactful way to reduce waste and cultivate a thriving garden. By embracing this sustainable gardening practice, we can contribute to environmental conservation while enjoying the rewards of homegrown produce and vibrant blooms.


Be sure to explore the process of growing bean seeds in a zip lock bag it's an enjoyable and educational activity, perfect for all ages.

Don't throw away those avocado pits, grow them into plants with our step-by-step guide, on how to grow an avocado pit.

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Hello, my name is Wendy I live in upstate NY with my husband and four children. Now that my children are getting older I have some extra time to share my experiences, recipes, traditions and life tips.

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