Yipee! I have a day off from writing today! The lovely Sarah from Ethics Trading (who is offering free delivery on all order over £30 and has REDUCED the price of her soapnuts) mentioned growing carrots in toilet roll inners on one of our posts. Well it caused quite a stir amongst our readers who were eager to hear more. As your wish is our command, it’s over to Sarah to tell you all about it………..
This article was first published by Sarah on Quassia; July 18th 2008.
“I’ve always struggled to grow carrots. My soil is quite clay and cold so they often don’t germinate or survive to be big enough to eat. Last year I tried something new.
Someone said to me that they save the inner card tubes from toilet rolls and use those to start off seeds, especially carrot and parsnip. The tubes are rigid enough to hold compost, biodegradable and open at the bottom so anything with a tap root isn’t restricted, as well as being tall enough to give those root veg a good head start.
Now carrots hate being moved, if you try to transplant them they split, fork or die, don’t form that delicious tap root and are generally inedible. So you can’t usually give them a head start indoors or in a greenhouse, which plants need in my garden – because the soil is cold and sticky.
So, I saved some toilet roll inners, stood them in a deep tray, filled them with compost and sowed my carrots. They germinated and grew fine on the window sill. I went to plant them out and the cardboard was still solid enough to handle reasonably well. I left one or two seedlings in each tube and set them in rows in the veg bed. I did help them along with a liberal sprinkle of organic slug pellets, but this year I have chickens to help with the slugs so I’ll have to be more careful with the pellets or use something else.
This all started happening last March and continued through the year until planting season finally came to an end and I now had several rows of carrots grown this way. I ate the first carrots grown in this garden – and they tasted lovely, the roots were long and straight, but could have done with another week or so to bulk up a bit. Still, a successful carrot crop, but I’ll leave them in the ground a bit longer this year and I want to try some different varieties.
I did run out of tubes though, so I did some with pots made with the Paper Potter and those did just as well as long as I stuck to a short rooted variety. But I’ve been saving toilet roll tubes all winter and I have loads to start with when it eventually warms up enough to be sowing seeds.
So, save your toilet roll inners and plant carrots in them! Or parsnips, but I don’t like parsnips so I’ll stick with carrots.
My gardening progress, along with any hints and tips I find along the way, will be recorded in the Ethics Trading blog through the year so do drop in there after you’ve finished wandering around the Zero Waste site”.
Marvellous – thank you Sarah. I gotta say, I’m sceptical; I’ve tried carrots in my clay soil and they are having none of it, so I can’t wait to try this method and I’m looking forward to being proven wrong.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing what I have been up to with the inners from toilet rolls. I bet you can’t wait!