Gardening lessons learnt

Over the last year I have been growing vegetables. Last summer I enjoyed zucchinis, tomatoes, spinach and all sorts of other goodies. During winter I enjoyed Kale, carrots and snowpeas. So I’ve been looking forward all winter to spring when I can start to plant my summer vegetables. After preparing my vegetable beds and finally adding my compost (which I’ve had ‘brewing’ for many many months), I thought I would grow my seedlings to then plant into the garden beds.
This is when things started to take a downward turn. I feel that as well as sharing my successes, that I have to share my failures too.
I had seen something in my organic gardening magazine about using toilet rolls to plants seeds into. The idea is that once the seeds have grown into seedlings that you could plant the whole thing and that over time the toilet roll would break down.
This idea had me excited. This was a great reuse idea and an upcycling one at that. I could reduce waste to landfill and grow my vegetables organically!
For months I saved toilet rolls and the odd biodegradable takeaway coffee cups. When the time came, I cut each toilet roll in half and created bases for them. I happily planted my seeds into them. I placed them in a sunny spot and watered them regularly. I waited and waited….weeks went by….oooh a corn seedling …..ahh no more…..nothing……seedling died…..hmmmm, nothing grew!

My toilet roll collection

My toilet roll collection


Up to 1 October 249
Up to 1 October 250
Up to 1 October 251
Up to 1 October 253
Up to 1 October 254

I have thought about why this was such a dismal failure. There are a number of potential reasons:
• The rolls were in a very sunny spot – maybe it was too hot. Certainly the soil seemed to be quite dry a lot of the time;
• Spring seems to have skipped Sydney this year altogether and we are straight into very high summer temperatures. Maybe it was too hot for the seedlings to grow;
• My seeds are from last year – maybe they are not so ‘fertile’ as they have been in a cupboard for a year;
• Maybe there were chemicals in the toilet rolls that didn’t allow the seeds to grown.
Perhaps if you are willing to undertake this experiment, I would love to hear how you went.
For now, I decided to plant some seeds directly into the soil. Let’s see how I go….

~ by em0navari on October 22, 2013.

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