Friday, August 8, 2014

Simple Garden Sprout Tubes

Want an easy & cheap way to plant seeds and then transfer your little sprouts to the garden bed? Look no further!  I'm experimenting with these easy to make little sprout tubes; made from, get this, toilet paper tubes!
I'd read about them on a gardening website, sorry I don't remember which one, but I had kept the idea in the back of my head for several months, enough time to have this many TP tubes!  The idea is that you can plant the whole thing, tube and all, into the ground and the tube will decompose into the soil.  I want to plant green beans, and they prefer to be planted directly into the soil and not transplanted, but I'm not ready to plant them into the ground quite yet.  I think this will be a great way to do both, since I'll simply plant the whole thing and not upset the plant by taking it out of those little growing trays.

To start I gathered several toilet paper tubes, a plastic tray to put them in, scissors, my seeds and some potting soil (not shown).

At one end of the tube cut five slits about an inch deep equally around the circumference of the tube.

Then fold down the five flaps.

I actually did not have enough TP tubes, so I cut a paper towel tube into three sections to make additional tubes.

This gave me twelve tubes to use as sprout tubes.

Then I filled them up with potting soil.

It was super easy to just scoop using the tube itself.

Once they were filled I inserted one bean seed per tube.

My plans are to plant these (once they've sprouted) into what we've named the bed of death.  We've planted several types of seeds in here, with not a single sprout.  I've also planted squash sproutlings, but they died within a week.  So I did a ph test and learned that the soil was alkaline.  Most plants don't like that, it makes it hard for them to absorb nutrients, so we added some granular soil sulfur.  I'm hoping the toilet paper tubes will help protect the plants while they settle in (the previous squash did not have protection), and that our changes to the soil will have helped make this soil grow-able.  It is really strange that we have this problem in just this one garden bed and not the rest, but we're newbie gardeners so live and learn.

Now we just await the beans sprouting!

I'll keep you posted on how these do/grow.  One thing I've already noticed is that they need to be watered frequently as they dry out quickly...  Have you done this before?  How did it work?

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