Toilet Roll Seed Starters

3 Materials
10 Minutes

You don't need lots of fancy equipment to get started with plants! Here is a cool idea to reuse toilet paper inners and get cracking on your garden :-)

Here is everything you will need. Empty toilet roll tubes, some compost, seeds of your choice and a tub or plate for them to sit in/on.

I chose to cut my tubes in half to save compost. You don't have to do this- it will work just the same with full sized toilet roll tubes.

Once all my toilet roll tubes were cut in half, I slotted them into my tub. You can do as many as will fit, or as few as you want :-)

Now it's time to fill up your tubes with compost. Press the compost down gently as you go, so that the tubes are around 3/4 filled with compost. Don't push down so hard that the compost is compacted- think of the tiny seedlings' roots in coming weeks! :-)

So once all the tubes are filled with compost you'll have something that looks like this. Now you're ready for seeds!

Here I'm adding borage seeds (see my previous tutorial for harvesting borage seeds). These are my own borage seeds harvested last autumn. I put 1 seed each in 6 of the tubes. I then added some petunia and viola seeds to the other 12 tubes. What you sow really is up to you- tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflowers....whatever you like!

Once you've added the seeds to all of your tubes, give them a light watering with a sprinkler attachment watering can/hose.

And there you have it! Low waste, no cost seed starters! The best bit??? Once the seedlings have sprouted, theres no need to struggle and mess about trying to transfer the plant- simply put the cardboard tube into the plant's new pot and it will rot away and become part of the compost, not affecting growth at all :-)

Suggested materials:

  • Compost  (Buyology)
  • Toilet roll tubes  (Home)
  • Seeds  (Garden)

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Jacx
    on Mar 27, 2020

    Good to know but who can find anything right now that remotely smacks of a preventative? It's just crazy right now. No t.p. to had either! My neighbor just payed $30. In shipping to Amazon plus 30 for the paper, unbelievable.

    • Jacx
      on May 13, 2020

      We are finally getting t.p. back on the shelves but mine are being used as low tech bird feeders! Punch 2 holes near top edge, put peanutbutter on the tube, roll in seeds. Hang w twine. The birds here love it. I live in an apartment house and don't even have a balcony. I put these in the trees in our parking area. I can watch them from my bathroom or kitchen windows. Miss having a small garden. I do have 9 African violets, 3 orchids, a big Spath and a bonsai ficus. One needs to find joy where you can and plants are so amazing. One of these days I'll get a garden again!

  • Elizabeth Coffey
    on Mar 31, 2020

    I saved my coffee pods bc they they have the tiny hole in the bottom. Do you cut the roll away after you see your plant is going?

    • Robin Wilson
      on Apr 11, 2020

      No, she said to just transfer roll and all to pot. It will become part of the compost

  • Cathy Tyson Marsh
    on Apr 4, 2020

    Do you have holes in the bottom of your tub for drainage, and do you have a bottom to the tube? The compost just doesn’t fall out when you transplant?

    • F
      on Apr 25, 2020

      I did the 4cuts-and-fold-the-bottom method. Is neater. Using tp tubes saved my pole bean crop the year I had moles. The tubes gave the beans a chance to sprout before being eaten. yeay!

Join the conversation

2 of 34 comments
  • Debbie
    on Apr 20, 2020

    What a smart idea . you no so of the silliest things turn out to be the smartest and cheapest things.

  • Carmen
    on Apr 25, 2020

    Yes!! I have plastic ice cream containers and seeds. I might punch holes in the bottom , use coffee filters and a layer of rocks or packing peanuts for drainage and still use t.t rolls. If I don’t use too many seeds, I won’t need to transfer plants. I can then put them into nice ceramic pots without messing them up.

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