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Paper pots and dunny rolls

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    Hi Gals and Guys

    Just sitting in the smallest room of the house and thinking about growing things as you (well ok, I) do.

    I’ve purchased veg and herbs in paper pots, I’ve made paper pots and successfully germinated veg and herbs in ’em and I’ve done the same with the dunny roll inners. However, without removing them from their paper or dunny roll cover I’ve never managed to grow the plants to maturity.

    I’ve always believed and been told that you just plant the whole thing and it being paper and organic and recycled etc etc that the paper/cardboard breaks down as the plant/roots grow and it’s a fabulous, non-invasive, wonderfully good for the earth type way to plant. It just doesn’t happen for me!

    The damn things grow a little bit and then turn their toes up. Every time – they become literally pot bound. Is it me? Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong or do you have the same problem.

    Thanks in advance for your comments. It’s a true bugger for me.




    Hi I have been using dunny roll cores for over 20 year and the only problem I have ever did is small fungi in the outside of the roll… nine times out of ten the plant will be okay …for the last couple of years I have been using coconut coir blocks and perlite .Col


    My loo roll pots attracted slaters and other bugs like you wouldn’t believe! The slaters/earwigs liked the hidey-holes between each roll and would consistently ‘mow down’ the emerging seedlings 😡

    The tomatoes that survived the slaters went really well – the loo roll pots actually fell apart before I could get them into the garden and they ended up in a tangled mess! Not sure if I’ll use this method again this season…


    I used the loo roll method for my summer vegies and was really happy with the way it went. I have just planted out a whole heap of winter vegies in them (different rolls obviously:lol:)


    Hi all,

    I have used eggs cartons. I find after giving them a good soaking they get all mushy before I pop them into the dirt…

    I’ve never tried toilet rolls, but was planning to soon…

    Maybe give egg cartons a try if you have any. I find them great for seeds…




    In my experience of using both I have had this happen too – the problem is lack of water, they won’t break down unless they are wet or damp.

    The problem is you can’t physically plant them when the ‘casing’ is wet as they fall apart.

    So I used to plant them and water very well before backfilling the hole.

    Even then I gave up on them in the end for these reasons.

    I found it easier to put loo rolls on the compost, use the newspapers shredded for chook bedding, and sow my seedlings in old containers – cream, etc.

    Hope this helps



    I use paper pots, but I water often for the first few days – the paper doesn’t last very long and I’ve never had a problem planting wet pots, though you have to be gentle so they don’t tear.

    If you plant them with a paper rim above ground level, it seems to protect them a little from being found straight away, and if you fill the embedded pot with water it soaks the paper well anyway.

    Much better than those little (and expensive) coir pots IMHO – I find they wick the water away from the seedling – can’t think why I tried them again:|


    I start my seeds in ordinary plastic pots then transplant them into the garden when big enough, then put the loo roll around after they’re planted, gently pushing it into the ground, then water them. Haven’t had any problem with the plants dying. 😀


    Tipsypix, I cut my toilet rolls in half, fill with compost and have no problems with raising seedlings and planting out. I do however find jiffy pots easier and less fiddly but lav roll is handy as its free and fairly organic. Keep at it & happy gardening, cheers porgey


    I use egg cartons also, and sit them in a tray of water so they wick the moisture up to the seedlings. Break them up before you try to move them for planting, or just carry the whole tray holding the egg carton seedlings to wherever you intend to plant.


    Loo rolls and egg cartons have been big failures in the past for me too – when the cardboard outer is exposed to the air they seem to dry out too much here and the seeds either don’t germinate or dry out and die.

    But last year I tried packing loo rolls into styrofoam boxes and packing the inside and gaps with seed raising mix – so that there are no spaces around them and you have a solid box of “soil”. That worked really well and I’ve used it for all our non-direct-sown seedlings since then, especially the root veg like beetroot that don’t like being transplanted. The cardboard does get soft/starting to break down by the time you transplant but if you use a trowel to ease out each package it works a treat to protect the roots. Plant into a well wet-up bed and make sure it doesn’t dry out too much in the next 10 days – but not saturated.

    With this method we’ve managed to get seedlings past the tiny stage when they are most likely to be eaten off by critters or knocked down by heavy storms. You need 60-80 loo rolls to a full box, so we have our friends all collecting for us!


    Thanks for the advice and opinions guys and gals. I had totally given them up as a bad idea but may try them again following some of the anecdotes above.

    I have successfully germinated and planted out tamarillo trees using egg cartons, but as mentioned by so many, the outer became absolute mush and so transplanting was a bit tricky. I only got 2 out of 12 anyway but their now about 60cm tall and looking great and I got to eat most of the 1 fruit that I purchased for the seed so it was a win win I suppose.

    Seedlings in plastic punnets and tubes I can do with no problems at all, it’s the more ‘organic’ approach that doesn’t seem to like me for some reason. Never mind, if – after 1 more try – they fail again I’ll just go back to composting the loo rolls and paper, they seem to be very effective in helping to heat the heap.




    Do you rip them up before you compost them? I’m trying to work out what I can chuck in my compost heap as dry matter without too much work – shredding newspaper one sheet at a time is time consuming!


    I get rolls from work that the paper for our XY plotter comes whapped around. They are about 800mm long cardboard and somwhat thicker than toilet rolls, I cut them up into 100mm lenghts and then fill with my potting mix and pot on seedlings into them. They stay around and wet for a few weeks while the seedlings get bigger then I plant them tube and all.



    Fey wind – loo roll rolls can go into the compost whole. (so long as the heap is moist enough) newspaper is best shredded, but I shred one newspaper at a time, which isn’t so time consuming and not that difficult, if you tear with, not against, the ‘grain’.

    I actually use shredded newspaper as bedding for the chooks, and then into the compost with all the poo when we clean the chook house out


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