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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting

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Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting Empty Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting

Post  Chopper 7/7/2010, 6:45 pm

Some one had asked for a follow up on this and I couldn't find the original thread.

Original issue: Glued seeds to paper towels and planted them. It was a variety of things - cukes, carrots, eggplant, etc.
Comme ca:
Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting Carrot10

and

Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting Box_6_10

So far everything has sprouted and looks good - no duds:

Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting Bed_8_10

I just planted an 8th bed using the same method. Although I like it for it's ease of organization, I cannot say that is saves any backache. It does make it easier to add the companion plants - in this case nasturtiums and radishes, and it makes it easier to do the very small seeds.

It allowed me to sit with my computer and look up some things, fill them in on excel and then look at that while I put together the paper towels and for one whose memory is iffy at best this was useful.

On the final box I covered it with bird netting - for birds, but mainly for the dogs. I was out of fencing but had that!

Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting Bed_8_11

Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting Bed_8_12
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Post  extremesoccermom 7/7/2010, 7:00 pm

Did you just use white glue? I was thinking of trying this myself.
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Post  Chopper 7/7/2010, 7:04 pm

@extremesoccermom wrote:Did you just use white glue? I was thinking of trying this myself.

Yes, just Elmer's glue.
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Post  PeggyC 7/8/2010, 8:49 am

Hmm, I had read about this on Toilet Paper, but paper towels make more sense for SFG.

How long before planting did you do this? I'm thinking I could glue them on sometime in the winter like January? and then be ready to plop them in the squares later?

Are you finding that the paper towels are breaking down well or are they more like a layer of mulch?

I'm guessing you use the cheapest paper towels around, not something "good" like Brawny, so that the seedlings don't have to work too hard to get through?
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Post  Bec 7/8/2010, 9:24 am

Wow! What a great idea! I started seeds on wet paper towels and kept them in a sealed baggie this year with great success. But transferring them to small pot and taking care of them there, then repotting (through which I lost which varieties were which, red, yellow, green, acorn, butternut, etc) is a step I wouldn't mind doing without. I would think if you start them inside (while it's still too cold to plant outside) you could do it this way and not have to glue them. Just put them in their appropriate positions that they would go in the garden, place another wet paper towel on top and let them sprout in the baggie. As they are sprouting they more often than not grow onto the paper towel. Rather than having to disturb the root system just place the paper towel with the sprouted seeds on their square when it's warm enough to put them out and maybe sprinkle about 1/8" or 1/4" layer of soil over them since they've already sprouted. If it's still too cold at night, then you could put a plastic covering over the box (using the PVC method) for a little greenhouse. In theory I think this would work great!
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Follow Up On Seeds on Paper Towel Planting Empty Paper towels

Post  junequilt 7/8/2010, 12:54 pm

I'm not sure I want latex in my box -- that's my only objection to using paper towels. I do start use them to start seeds on top of the refrigerator, but I always pick the sprouted seed off them and either put the seeds in starter plugs or in the ground, depending on the type of seed, soil temp, etc.

Regarding Bec's plastic covering idea, we have a local garden center/feed store that direct-sows tomato seeds thickly in shallow trenches. The trenches lie between rows of just plain old wooden boards. They water in the seeds, then cover the area with clear plastic sheeting, stapling it to the boards. The sun warms the ground through the plastic, the seeds germinate, and the seedlings grow. They can be protected from frost by laying a blanket, cardboard, newspapers, etc. over the plastic. At tomato-planting time, the garden center just pulls off the sheeting and customers go in and dig out their own plants. The roots are a little tangled, but tomatoes aren't fussy about being separated or having their roots trimmed, so they transplant beautifully.

I imagine something similar could be done in a square-foot environment.
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Post  Chopper 7/8/2010, 1:06 pm

@PeggyC wrote:
How long before planting did you do this? I'm thinking I could glue them on sometime in the winter like January? and then be ready to plop them in the squares later?

Are you finding that the paper towels are breaking down well or are they more like a layer of mulch?

That one I did a month or two ahead of time. Once dry there is no reason they would not last. I also numbered each one to match the squares of the bed so I didn't have to think about that when I was at the garden.

The cheaper the paper towels the better - less junk in them. I had good ones and they broke down fast. Even the half plastic paper towels are no match for copious water and dirt. I decided to simply not worry about the additives as I sincerely doubt they affect the plant and I have too much else to worry about and if I take on one more thing my head will explode.
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Post  Wyldflower 7/8/2010, 1:43 pm

@junequilt wrote:I'm not sure I want latex in my box -- that's my only objection to using paper towels. ...

Latex? in paper towels? Am I missing something here? (Paper towels that I buy are cheapo made from recycled paper)
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Post  boffer 7/8/2010, 3:34 pm

I PM'd Lavender Deb to check in on this thread. Her hubby is an engineer for a large paper products company. She has had suggestions/information to offer in other threads-which, of course, I can't find right now. frustration
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Post  Wyldflower 7/8/2010, 3:55 pm

I couldn't find it either... maybe that part of the discussion took place before the message board was renovated? Anyway, I'd like to know about this, so Deb, when you have a chance, I look forward to your post.

Thanks Boffer (and in advance to LavenderDeb)
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Post  Lavender Debs 7/8/2010, 4:09 pm

Cheep is good. Viva, Job Squad and maybe Brawny use latex for strength.

The earlier thread was a compost thread. I was concerned about chemicals and dyes from a kitchen load of paper towels (and spray cleaners that are often used with them).

This method of laying down seeds doesn't sound bad at all. I have watched children eat Elmer’s and seem fine (or at least no worse) after eating it.

Honestly, I would go with cheap, slushy speckled colored (not an even brown or tan) towel. But this is one towel per square, not a compost bin full. Seems like a good idea.
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Post  Wyldflower 7/8/2010, 4:15 pm

Hey... that's a definite point in favor of being a cheapskate! I use cloth towels and sponges most often, but for icky spills, I use the Marcal recycled paper towels. I think they're probably good.

I appreciate the info... I'm not a big fan of latex when I can help it.
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Post  camprn 7/8/2010, 5:35 pm

@boffer wrote:I PM'd Lavender Deb to check in on this thread. Her hubby is an engineer for a large paper products company. She has had suggestions/information to offer in other threads-which, of course, I can't find right now. frustration
Click here for the original thread with Deb's info about latex and other things found in paper products.
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Post  Wyldflower 7/8/2010, 5:45 pm

I see how the topic came up before. This all makes sense to me now.
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