2013 Seedlings

22 03 2013

Last year I blogged about the dilemma ‘to seed, or not to seed‘ when planning for a summer vegetable garden. While I didn’t plant from seed last year (because of travel) this year I am. I feel more strongly than ever about knowing where my food comes from.

seedlings
This year I decided to try something from a post I’d recently seen on Pinterest. It suggested that paper towel and toilet paper tubes are perfect for starting seeds. And they are! They don’t cost anything, they can be planted directly in the ground, and using them avoids sending more material to the landfill.
The first step was saving our toilet paper and paper towel tubes for the last few months. Then when it was time to plant seeds I cut each of them down to ~2 inch segments and lined them up in glass baking dishes and filed them with dirt.

I began with the seeds that have the longest germination (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc) and cool season crops (celery, leeks, cauliflower, and the like).  The baking dish works great for watering: I add about a half an inch in the bottom of the dish and the little tubes take it up from the bottom. I cover the dish with another glass baking dish to create a greenhouse effect and place it in a south-facing window. Here’s how it looks:

Celery!

Once the seedlings start getting too tall for their ‘greenhouse’ I pull them out and place them in a separate baking dish without a cover. I’ve filled in the vacancies with successive plantings including lavender, marigolds, and fennel. Believe it or not, I’ve actually run out of tubes! I planted the cucumber seeds in a leftover plastic plant pot from last year’s seedlings. Some of the tubes are starting to unravel though; I’m hoping they’ll hold together until I can put them in the ground. We’ll see!

 

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