I tried this last fall and literally nothing germinated.
Maybe I'm just really bad at it. Maybe I didn't water them enough... I do live in Texas so things dry out fast especially the fall seed starts (which I had left outside) since you start them when it's still 90+ out...
Perhaps I'll give it another try for the spring garden :)
Hill Country Dream: Land Acquired > Home plans driving me crazy (still) > food forest pending
I know people who've used this technique, but a friend gave me a paper pot maker which gives me a wider diameter to work with, and I've figured out how to make them 3" tall when constructed, which really helps give the roots some good depth to work with, so I gave up on the TP tube version.
However, I found it's important that the pots have some airspace around them as if they're packed too close, the paper tends to go moldy.
I also found that I've had very little damping off, I don't have to transplant tiny seedlings into larger containers, and I tend not to get transplant shock as I plant the whole pot without disturbing the roots. With newsprint, the roots will grow right through the pot, and the video says that they will through the TP Tuber version also.
Despite my duck's efforts to control slugs near my garden, I seem to do better if I can grow my plants a bit larger before putting them into the ground. Our cloudy spring weather often stalls seedlings while they're too small still to cope with a slug visiting.
A full height minus bottom fold material Costco toilet roll would be 3" tall by 1 5/8 diameter.
My paper version, 3" tall by 2 1/4 diameter.
5/8" extra might not seem like much, but area is squared, and volume cubed, so I'm allowing more dirt to buffer moisture levels, and I try to used decent compost and not add anything artificial. I want strong plants, not big plants. However, that means I need a lot more dirt to start the same number of seeds, so the TP Roll version could be better if soil/compost was in short supply.
However, if TP tubes was what I had, I'd far prefer to use it over plastic pots. I try to use plastic pots only when nothing else will do the job.
I label the paper itself before it gets wet - separate labels tend to get separated... (yes, I really typed that, but it's the truth as I know it!)
This can be A LOT simpler.
Step #1- Get a tray and tubes and damp soil mix
Step#2- Put your hand over one end of the tube (leave both ends open- no cutting or folding) and scoop it through the dirt, gently piacking it in.
Step#3- Set it in the tray and repeat with all the tubes. Steps 2-3 take about 10 seconds or less per tube.
Step#4- Water the tubes. The dirt will settle a little.
Step#5- Place seed on top of dirt and sprinkle soil on top to the depth required by the seed. And gently water the top.
When you fold the bottoms in, the cardboard is too thick to grow through soon enough so you have to unfold the bottom before planting out. By the time you are ready to plant out, with the bottom left open, the roots are right there and ready to go.
This method is best for plants that send down deep roots and don't like transplanting. I use it for sweet corn because I can have 200 narrow toilet paper tubes squished into a few trays under my grow lights and get my sweet corn started and transplanted with minimal disturbance of the roots. Most containers that are deep enough for corn, are unnecessarily wide which limits my shelf space. It also works for peas and beans. Not great for tomatoes, peppers and stuff like that.
It is also not great for things you are going to keep in pots for a while. I only keep the seeds growing in them for 2-3 weeks.
Yes, they do dry out fast and yes you get some interesting fungus growth on the outside but this has never injured my seeds. I water them from the bottom which helps keep the seeds from getting diseases.
I consider this method a halfway point between regular pots and soil blocking.