Planting Seeds In Cardboard Tubes

by Texas Homesteader ~
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OMGosh y’all, spring is almost here!!  I’ve already used my garden planner to decide what I’m going to plant and where in the garden this year. And I’ve planted up my indoor greenhouse so I’ll have heirloom seedlings to drop in the ground around Easter (we’re in planting zone 8 here in NE Texas).

All of this is standard, I do it every year. But one thing that’s NEW for me is how I’ve planted these heirloom seeds. I typically plant my seedlings in plastic yogurt cups saved for me by a family member but this year I’m also experimenting with planting in cardboard tubes. I’ve read when it’s time to put your precious seedlings into the garden that the whole shootin’ match – cardboard tube & all – can be placed in the soil! The cardboard will simply decompose and enrich the soil. I like that!

Plant Seeds In Cardboard Tubes and you can drop seedlings - tube & all right in the garden! Cardboard will decompose and enrich the soil #TexasHomesteader

Saving Cardboard Tubes

I typically toss my cardboard toilet paper tubes into my *tumbling composter to help supply the much-needed carbon material. (DANG I love that thing!)

But I knew I’d be giving this new seed-planting medium a try this year so I’ve been saving my toilet paper rolls for a while. Now it’s finally time to put them all to good use.

I bring out my saved rolls and flattened them out. Then I cut into the bottom about 3/4 inch.  Then I flattened the tube the other way and cut another 3/4 inch on the opposite side, resulting in four slits cut in the bottom of each tube spaced approximately evenly.

Plant Seeds In Cardboard Tubes and you can drop seedlings - tube & all right in the garden! Cardboard will decompose and enrich the soil #TexasHomesteaderWhile they were flattened out I took a permanent marker and wrote on each tube what kind of seed I would plant in them. Instant plant markers! LOL Then I just went around and folded each section down and tucked the last section underneath the first, making a closed bottom. EASY!

Plant Seeds In Cardboard Tubes and you can drop seedlings - tube & all right in the garden! Cardboard will decompose and enrich the soil #TexasHomesteader

Planting Seed In Cardboard Tubes

Now I take my seed-starting mix and fill my new planting tube about 3/4 of the way, pressing firmly to pack it in well. All that’s left to do is to add a seed and top with soil. But I figured once I watered these tubes they might start to unravel with the moisture so I packed my planted tubes into various containers such as the bottom cut from a juice bottle, an old metal loaf pan and the like.

Plant Seeds In Cardboard Tubes and you can drop seedlings - tube & all right in the garden! Cardboard will decompose and enrich the soil #TexasHomesteader

I gave all my newly-planted seeds a quick drink and placed the containers inside my Indoor Greenhouse so they’d have the moist environment they love to sprout quickly. I’m already seeing many heirloom veggie seeds sprouting! Now when it’s finally time to plant my seedlings outside I’ll be able to drop the heirloom seedling – tube and all – into the soil. LOVE IT!


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29 thoughts on “Planting Seeds In Cardboard Tubes

  1. Christine Becken

    I’m glad you’re using toilet paper rolls this year. I think you will love them! We’ve been doing that for about 7 years now, and I’ve always had the best luck with them! I’ve got my garden planned, my seeds and soil ready, and several hundred ‘seed pots’ built and ready to go. That’s on my to-do list for the weekend. I will be using YOUR idea of clear totes for the first time! Do you ever stack them, in front of a sunny window? Our guest bedroom faces south and has a big sunny window.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve used cardboard rolls for a few years now Christine, but noticed last year I had some trouble with damping off disease. Maybe because the cardboard soaks up the moisture & holds on to it? The damping off was rectified by opening up the top of my ‘indoor greenhouse’ when I felt the humidity got a little too high. I’m also hearing sprinkling cinnamon on the tops of your plantings works too, so I may try that as well. Do you have any tips for damping-off disease? In any event, because you may need to dry out the humidity inside the boxes from time to time, make sure you can unstack them & crack the top when you need, but I don’t see any reason you can’t stack 2. ~TMH~

  2. Greg Hill

    Another great Repurpose Tammy,
    Small things like this add up to good things for the future.
    Posting this on Discover Repurposing.
    Thanks again for your creativity.

  3. Robin

    You always share the best tips, I learn so much from you! Thanks for always sharing them at the Creative Muster. PINNED
    Robin | Fluster Buster

  4. Brandi Raae

    I really like this idea. I just planted a bunch of flower seeds and am just hoping for the best. 😉 I’d love for you to share this idea with my readers at the Literacy Musing Mondays link-up:

    Blessings on your garden. 🙂

  5. Elaine

    What a great idea!! I love anytime we can up cycle something!! !Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you tomorrow!! Pinned!

  6. Victoria Tillman

    I’m making my seed starters form different materials already and these cardboard tubes are a good idea too. I’m usually using old newspapers or egg cartons and often forget how easy and fast is to turn these tubes into starters. Thank you for sharing this great info and happy gardening!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve never tried planting in cardboard tubes before, Victoria. But I’m a huge fan of “Use Whatcha Got” mentality. I’m pretty excited to see how they do! ~TMR~

  7. Renee

    I love learning of new ways to start seeds. I really like this idea. So inexpensive and you get to reuse what you already have. Great idea!

  8. Margy

    I’ve used portions of cardboard tubes to protect my seed planted directly in the soil from cutworms. Can’t swear it works, but whatever I can do to help my seedlings survive is worth a try. – Margy

  9. JES

    We have done this too and I love that you can place the WHOLE tube into the soil!!! No need to accidentally dismember the plant when you are transplanting it! 🙂

    As always, thank you for sharing at the Art of Home-Making Mondays! I love your ideas!

  10. Laurinda

    I’m looking forward to your updates on the cardboard tubes. Holy cats- using stale ice cream cones is genius!

  11. ColleenB.~Texas

    Cardboard tubes work Great for seed planting. Can also use newspaper if folded just right. I have used those rotisserie chicken containers as a mini greenhouse and believe it or not ice cream cones (the round bottom ones, not the sugar cones) Using the ice cream cones started when I had part of a box that went stale so instead of throwing them out, I saved them till it was seed starting time and planted my little seeds in them cones.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve heard of making little newspaper pots too Colleen, but never thought about other planting containers such as your ice cream cones. You know my battle cry: “Use WhatCha Got!” 🙂 ~TMH~


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