Oh, seedlings…they grow up so fast. This post came about because the seedlings we planted sprouted nicely and are now too big for their toilet paper roll containers. Well, it’s still very chilly up here in Vermont, only 21 degrees today to be exact, but my seedlings don’t care. They just keep growing, and have now gotten too big for their comfy paper roll containers.
Good thing we also eat a lot of yogurt at our house! I’ve been saving those containers all winter, just waiting to put them to good use as a home for a growing plant! Again, using recycled materials is a great way to help our planet and your budget at the same time! That’s a win win!
I’ve talked to a lot of people who have become frustrated when starting seeds because they’ve had their lovely sprouts fizzle up and die and weren’t really sure why. Well…seedlings need space to grow! So a good rule of thumb is to transfer them into a larger container about 2-4 weeks after they sprout. Sometimes this means moving them right into the ground, but not today! I am actually growing some of these herbs for my windowsill for easy access for cooking. Others will go outside once the weather finally warms up.
Start with finding a suitable container. Your new pot should be at least an inch or more taller than your toilet-paper roll seedling pots. I am using a recycled yogurt container, but if you want to jazz it up you can paint it, collage it, or even just wrap it with yarn. Since it will be hanging out in your house for a while, you might as well like looking at it.
SIDE PROJECT: A little yarn goes a long way! To make yarn-wrapped pots, simply coat the pot with Elmer’s or any white craft glue and then carefully wrap the pot one row at a time. Make certain beginning and end pieces are glued down tightly. No yarn? Colored string or strips of fabric work nicely too!
Next, add some soil to the bottom of your new pot, making sure it is the same soil you used when growing your seeds. Seedlings are sort of sensitive and don’t like a lot of change. (I think we can all relate to that sometimes, right?)
Ok, so another problem that can happen to a sensitive little seedling is that the root gets disturbed during the transplant. Those roots are super-important and again, they don’t like a whole lot of change, so the toilet paper tube works great since it can just biodegrade in the soil. So, just lift the seedling-filled tubes of the tray, tub or wherever you were storing them, unfold the bottom end of the tube and settle the entire tube into it’s new temporary home, trying not to mess with those roots.
Add more soil around the sides and top of the tube / seedling, water it, and tada! Look at that little seedling…growing up so fast!
Like that garden marker made out of a recycled spoon? Stay tuned, my blog post on hammered utensil garden markers coming soon! Perfect project for a chilly spring day while you are dreaming of being out in the garden!
Kristen Blaker is an artist, educator, and The Director of Education at Hiland Hall Gardens (HHG). She teaches growing, whether that means growing carrots, creativity, or confidence to a wide range of students. Her blog posts are inspired by work she does in the gardens. Kristen also creates her own artwork inspired by homegrown vegetables, flower gardens, interesting animals and vintage botanical drawings; you can find her collection at www.kristenbstudio.com. She lives with her husband and three young children in North Bennington, Vermont.