Eggplant & Capsicum in Toilet Rolls and a Few Other Seeds the Old Fashioned Way

Now that it’s August and winter is about to wane, the time is right to sow some new varieties of plants. I created 5 different pots containing:
1) capsicum (harvested seeds from garden capsicum, small green round pot) covered by a “greenhouse” made from a plastic box that mushrooms came in
2) capsicum (harvested seeds from store-bought capsicum, small black round pot)
3) capsicum (store-bought packet of seeds, small black square pot)
4) eggplant (store-bought seeds, small black square pot)
5) eggplant (store-bought seeds, large green round pot) covered by a “greenhouse” made from a plastic box that mushrooms came in

I’m trying something new with the 4 smaller pots. I’m putting the seeds into old toilet paper rolls, 2 seeds per roll (one to be thinned later). I’ve seen this done on gardening programs and it’s supposed to make transplanting a breeze with a lot less stress for the plants. You just put the whole tube in the ground when transplanting and it dissolves leaving the roots to spread. Good theory anyway. I have no idea if it will work but I’m positive it reduces the number of seedlings I get. I planted out 18 celery plants a couple of days ago and gave about the same number to my neighbour. Using the toilet paper roll method I’d be lucky to get 5 or 6 plants from the same pot.

Today the time felt right (and so did the weather) to also sow a few more seeds directly into the garden. I was eyeing the space left in the celery bed for the eggplant and capsicum seedlings (when they appear) but I’m not the most patient of gardeners and I’m sure I’ll find space for them when they need to go in the ground. So I created a row each of (back of bed working towards the celery rows): coriander, basil, spring onions, 2 types of radishes.

I’m either going to have an incredibly diverse harvest this year or I’ll learn a few lessons in patience, timing and spacing the hard way. I know which I’m hoping for.

Update 16 September 2012: Experiment concluded – the toilet rolls are a failure (see this post for a bit more). I’m pretty sure the problem is that, because I didn’t pack dirt tightly enough on the outside of the rolls, they dried out more easily. Or I could have made a different mistake. Whatever the reason, those seeds sprouted much later and were slower to grow and were no comparison to seeds sown straight in the pot. I am positive that any transplant shock difference can not compensate for this slow start.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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8 Responses to Eggplant & Capsicum in Toilet Rolls and a Few Other Seeds the Old Fashioned Way

  1. Linda says:

    That toilet paper roll method sounds interesting…transplanting can be so tedious sometimes…

    • Tedious I don’t mind (okay, I mind, but I can live with it) it’s the trauma to the plants that breaks my heart – and their productivity. If this works, I’ll be begging all my friends to save their loo rolls. That is a real test of friendship 🙂

      • Linda says:

        Yeah, I will definitely have to give this a try out of curiosity. My only concern would be the amount of space it can take up–I’m very limited atm. Sounds like it would save a lot of money too though…always a nice bonus.

        • I agree about the space. I have a lot more garden bed space than I do space for seed trays which is a pretty weak complaint I know. But if I get great success I’ll keep using it for those plants I sow in smaller quantities.

          • Linda says:

            Yeah, this would be great for anything in small quantities or anybody with limited growing space. My mom got a little walk-in greenhouse this year, so I’ll have to pass this idea onto her as well…might make her life a lot easier!

  2. Pingback: Basil, Lettuce, Kohlrabi & Spring Onions | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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