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A really, really Frugal Gardener

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Post  countrynaturals on 1/2/2017, 9:28 pm

@sanderson wrote:Love it!  The seeds don't stick to the coffee filters too badly?
I didn't think they would but they did. I think I'll just leave them stuck until I'm ready to plant. I'll cut them out and store them in a small plastic bag until I'm ready.
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Post  trolleydriver on 1/3/2017, 9:31 am

Great reuse idea CN.
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Post  Mellen on 1/3/2017, 9:13 pm

Does anyone use toilet paper rolls, or newspaper seed pots?  I have been saving the toilet paper rolls all year.  I was talking to a Master Gardener at an event and she said they don't break down.  She makes pots out of newspapers; rolls them around a can.  I'm getting conflicting advice here.  Anyone out there actually used either of these?
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Post  trolleydriver on 1/3/2017, 9:26 pm

@Mellen wrote:Does anyone use toilet paper rolls, or newspaper seed pots?  I have been saving the toilet paper rolls all year.  I was talking to a Master Gardener at an event and she said they don't break down.  She makes pots out of newspapers; rolls them around a can.  I'm getting conflicting advice here.  Anyone out there actually used either of these?
I used some toilet paper rolls last year. Mel recommends them in his SFG Answer Book.  I used other things as well including egg cartons, peat pots, plastic pots, etc . As for the toilet rolls I can't remember if I took the seedlings out before transplanting.
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Post  Mellen on 1/3/2017, 10:53 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:
@Mellen wrote:Does anyone use toilet paper rolls, or newspaper seed pots?  I have been saving the toilet paper rolls all year.  I was talking to a Master Gardener at an event and she said they don't break down.  She makes pots out of newspapers; rolls them around a can.  I'm getting conflicting advice here.  Anyone out there actually used either of these?
I used some toilet paper rolls last year. Mel recommends them in his SFG Answer Book.  I used other things as well including egg cartons, peat pots, plastic pots, etc . As for the toilet rolls I can't remember if I took the seedlings out before transplanting.
Thank you TD.   Everything I have read says to plant tube and all.  I think I'll try it that way, as well as the same seeds in something more traditional.  I have seeds coming out my ears so I have plenty to experiment with.  I told my sister to prepare some pots or beds.  She might be 'gifted' with an overflow (should I be that lucky).
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 1/3/2017, 11:38 pm

@Mellen wrote:Does anyone use toilet paper rolls, or newspaper seed pots?  I have been saving the toilet paper rolls all year.  I was talking to a Master Gardener at an event and she said they don't break down.  She makes pots out of newspapers; rolls them around a can.  I'm getting conflicting advice here.  Anyone out there actually used either of these?
I think this may be a case of "it depends." The thickness of the tubes varies by brand. Thin tubes practically fall apart before your seeds can even germinate. Thick ones will still hold together for months, maybe even over a year? (Maybe I should have put them under my beds instead of corrugated...)  But so long as they are just cardboard (and I think they all are...), they are going to degrade eventually - faster shredded and in an active compost pile, slower if they are intact in the MM, slower still if they are just hanging around entirely above ground.

One concern with the slow breakdown can be wicking - if you leave the rim sticking out of your MM it can pull water put of your soil and evaporate it into the air. So either make sure that it's buried, or tear/cut the rim away at transplant time - or remove the cardboard altogether and put it into your compost pile. I guess the other potential concern is your plants getting root bound. But you can leave the bottom open, or open it back up if you fold it closed. I've read similar concerns about Jiffy pots vs wicking/root-binding; the issues aren't unique to TP tubes.

I've used TP tubes; I'm still on the fence vs using them for seedlings because I'm fond of plastic square pots (reused from plants I bought, and scavenged from curbs, so still frugal.) I do like TP tubes for blanching leeks.
I haven't used newspapers to make pots because I do not receive them.
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Post  sanderson on 1/4/2017, 2:45 am

Mellen, I don't know if you would have the same problem I had with paper or peat pots. When I planted them with the seedling, they evaporated the moisture in the summer. I even tore them down to below the soil line. So, every seedling for me is planted in a plastic seedling pot and removed for planting. I have a nice selection of individual pots so each plant can stay in theirs until the roots are nicely developed for transplanting. I also have a collection of plastic 44 and 32 oz cups, slightly cut shorter, for up-potting tomatoes seedlings. I use plain old MM, bake/steam in the oven for 30 min, as my potting mix. Don't worry, no worms are baked in the process. Wink

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Post  trolleydriver on 1/4/2017, 8:20 am

TP rolls can be used to get seedlings started indoors and then as the plants grow pot them up into bigger pots (e.g., plastic) for continued growth indoors.

One thing I did near the end of Spring last year was go around to the garden centres at a couple of big stores and ask for their used plastic pots. They had storage areas for the things they were throwing away and I scored some nice plastic pots of different sizes. These "found" pots need a very good cleaning (e.g., with a 10% bleach and 90% water solution) before being used. I will be using these pots this year.

Like sanderson I also use plastic cups. The photo below shows sunflowers being started in dollar store cups.  When planted out I cut off the bottoms of the cups and left the rest of the cup in place to act as a protective collar (e.g., to stop cut worms, etc.).

A really, really Frugal Gardener - Page 3 IMG_1729_zpsbp21h4xn


Here are some TP rolls and self-watering containers that I made to water them. To be honest I don't think I will use TP rolls this year.
A really, really Frugal Gardener - Page 3 DSCN9816_zpsl5ryofjl
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Post  Mellen on 1/4/2017, 8:52 am

@sanderson wrote:Mellen, I don't know if you would have the same problem I had with paper or peat pots.  When I planted them with the seedling, they evaporated the moisture in the summer.  I even tore them down to below the soil line.  So, every seedling for me is planted in a plastic seedling pot and removed for planting.  I have a nice selection of individual pots so each plant can stay in theirs until the roots are nicely developed for transplanting.  I also have a collection of plastic 44 and 32 oz cups, slightly cut shorter, for up-potting tomatoes seedlings.  I use plain old MM, bake/steam in the oven for 30 min, as my potting mix.  Don't worry, no worms are baked in the process. Wink
Thank goodness!  Love those worms!  I need to make more MM.  I only had a limited supply last year because I was experimenting.  I had both a straw bale garden (squash & tomatoes don't work so well in them...too far from the ground) and the box with my salad garden in it.  Also a pot with Sue's beans (yard long).  I have never heard of baking MM, although, come to think of it, Sue used to microwave hers.  My brother said he could always tell when she was "cooking dirt".  He could smell it when he came in from work. 

I'm disappointed the TP tubes aren't that successful.  I have so darn many of them.  I've been saving them for a year (2 girls in the house!).  LOL     I also have been saving the plastic containers ANYTHING comes in, from cottage cheese & sour cream, to organic greens.  It's so bad that people at work come to me and ask if I want the container from the whatever they just finished.   Razz

Well....I guess I just keep experimenting.  I like the idea of foiling the cutworms though, by whatever means.
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Post  trolleydriver on 1/4/2017, 9:37 am

Mellen ... I tear up TP rolls and put them in my compost bin.
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Post  countrynaturals on 1/4/2017, 11:13 am

@trolleydriver wrote:Mellen ... I tear up TP rolls and put them in my compost bin.
We burn ours and mix the ashes into the compost.
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Post  donnainzone5 on 1/4/2017, 11:55 am

Soaking TP and paper towel rolls in water makes it much easier to tear them apart for use ion the compost pile/bin.
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Post  sanderson on 1/4/2017, 2:08 pm

Yes! You can really smell baking dirt!

CN, Why do you add ashes?


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Post  littlejo on 1/4/2017, 7:42 pm

I've never used TP rolls as pots, but, I know who likes them most! Worms love cardboard. I just put in worm bin, no tearing at all, they love it. 

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Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/4/2017, 7:59 pm

I compost them for Browns....
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Post  countrynaturals on 2/24/2017, 12:31 pm

Anybody make your own pots from newspaper? Katie says all I have to do is line a terracotta pot with wet newspaper, then shove another pot into it like a press, then let it dry and it makes like a peat pot. That sounds too easy to me and I'm afraid they'd collapse as soon as I start using them and they get wet. HELP!  Shocked I need to transplant some seedlings from my Jiffy Pellets, but they aren't ready to go in the ground and I really want to plant them in their containers when the time comes.

What about coffee filters? Would they hold up for a few weeks? If I lined pots with bird netting, then coffee filters, then potting soil and plants, when the time comes, I could lift them out by the bird netting, so there wouldn't be that much stress on the coffee filters, then plant them in the filters. Whew -- was that a run-on sentence or what? Rolling Eyes
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Post  Ginger Blue on 2/24/2017, 1:32 pm

Hmm. I don't know how newspaper or coffee filters would hold up.  Sounds like a lot of work for the risk.  I've been know to use 9oz (or larger) paper cups, purchased in bulk from Sam's, to hold seedlings over for transplant. Just punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage, add a little MM and you're good to go.

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Post  donnainzone5 on 2/24/2017, 1:47 pm

I'm planning to utilize yogurt containers for my tomato seedlings this year.  Generally, I punch holes in the bottom with the sharp end of a knife.  Is there a better method?
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Post  countrynaturals on 2/24/2017, 2:17 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:I'm planning to utilize yogurt containers for my tomato seedlings this year.  Generally, I punch holes in the bottom with the sharp end of a knife.  Is there a better method?
I want to be able to plant the container, too, like a peat pot. I just ran out and didn't want to wait, but now I'm thinking I'll do a regular transplant into  plastic containers, since these ground cherries will have to live in them for at least 2 months, until our night temps hit 50.
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Post  donnainzone5 on 2/24/2017, 2:21 pm

I've always had poor luck with peat pots and discs; the roots never seem to grow after the plants are transplanted.
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Post  CapeCoddess on 2/24/2017, 2:22 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:I'm planning to utilize yogurt containers for my tomato seedlings this year.  Generally, I punch holes in the bottom with the sharp end of a knife.  Is there a better method?

I make air pots out of red solo cups for my toms.  Don't remember why but that's how Quiltbea taught me. I slice four 1/4" 'vents' starting in the bottom and up the side about 2 inches using an exacto knife.
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Post  countrynaturals on 3/11/2017, 11:10 am

A really, really Frugal Gardener - Page 3 Base11
I love this thread. Being frugal is one of my favorite games. Used to be from necessity. Now I just can't resist the challenge of making something from nothing. Very Happy

A couple of weeks ago, Katie gave me a box of little wood pieces that came as part of a donation. They're thin, angled, and about 6" long. The idea was to use them for kindling, but they were just too perfect. I knew I'd find a better use for them. 

One of my biggest challenges as a gardener is to keep track of what I plant. I always start out with a system, but by the time I've moved stuff around, re-planted, and filled in the holes, I always get confused and mix up the broccoli with the Brussels sprouts, or can't remember which variety of tomato is which. I was reaching for the phone to ask Katie to "buy" me some plant stakes affraid when I remembered those little wood sticks. I numbered them with permanent marker, logged what I planted, and stuck them in my containers. YEE-HAH! Free, cuter than plastic, and I'll always know what I have from now on. LIFE IS GOOD! cheers
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Post  GWN on 3/11/2017, 11:19 am

I have all my friends and relatives saving toilet rolls  and I recycle them as small pots.  Here are 80 of them ready to goA really, really Frugal Gardener - Page 3 Img_1610
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Post  Mellen on 3/11/2017, 11:36 am

I used TP rolls, made some newspaper pots, and bought 2 trays of peat pots.  I've learned a few things:
1.  DON'T plant anything in a pot if it says on the package "plant outside after frost, etc".  My dining room table is COVERED with plants, the beans & sunflowers are 1.5' high & falling over and I'm not ready to plant them outside (in 2-5 days).  I unplugged the two heating pads last night so they would stop growing (some roots are already out the bottom)
2. Don't assume that not everything will grow & plant too much.  It has ALL germinated!
3.  TP rolls dry out fastest, followed by newspaper pots, followed by the peat pots.
4.  TP rolls will start unraveling (I have about a half a dozen with paper clips holding them together  Smile--it works so far)
5.  Look for the mushroom compost BEFORE you plant, not when you have two days to fill your containers with MM before you plant.  I still can't find any in this part of the country.  

It looks like the planting is going to have to wait a week.  I'm going to Pasadena with my daughter this coming Thursday-Sunday.  Maybe I can look for the mushroom compost there while she's at her SLP convention.

Needless to say, I feel like I bit off more than I can chew.

Onward & upward!
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Post  RC3291 on 3/11/2017, 11:53 am

This kind of goes with your number one. If it doesn't germinate plant some more. Then it will all come up.
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