Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recycled Mini Greenhouses

Happy Earth Day! We love Earth Day at our house; not just because of the concept behind it but also because it is the anniversary of our engagement!  11 years.  Which means that this year marks our 10th wedding anniversary - wow!  

Anyway, back to Earth Day... To celebrate this year, Maya and I raided our recycling bin and made some mini greenhouses in which to start our seeds.  Okay, to be honest, the toilet paper tubes hadn't even made it to the recycling bin.  I have an issue with disposing (even recycling) toilet paper tubes.  I keep thinking, "There has to be something I can do with this."  So, rather than throw them in with my other recyclables, I end up lining them up on the window sill behind the toilet waiting for inspiration to strike.  My friends that use my bathrooms must think I'm very odd.  Check that.  They already know that I'm odd, it's the visitors that happen to use the bathroom that must think I'm very odd.  Oh well.  

We used toilet paper tubes (cut in half), plastic strawberry containers and the tops of egg cartons to make our mini greenhouses.  I was inspired by this post from IntuitionPhysician.  It is fairly straightforward to do.  If you are interested in doing this, you will also need soil (we used a 50/50 mix of compost and top soil), seeds, water and some way to label the containers.


Start off by cutting the toilet paper tubes in half.  Each strawberry container can fit 6 half-tubes, so you will need 3 toilet paper tubes for each container that you want to plant. 


Fill each container almost to the top with soil.  Because the bottoms are not all flat (think of the dimple in the bottom of wine bottles), I found it was easiest if I held down the tube while Maya spooned the soil into it.  Once the tubes were filled with soil, the weight of them were enough to hold the container down.  


Plant the seeds to the indicated depth and place in egg carton container to catch the extra water (since the sides of the strawberry containers have vents in them).  Now the best part - water them!  We used a small spray bottle that Maya could operate by herself. 


Place containers on a windowsill and wait for the seeds to grow.  We planted three types of tomatoes, hot peppers and watermelon seeds.  Once they have grown a bit, I plan to remove the top but in the meantime they are helping to keep the soil a bit warmer and moister (just like a greenhouse).  Actually, because the tops of the strawberry containers have vents in them, I may cover them with a bit of tape or plastic wrap to trap the heat and moisture in a bit better just until the seeds have sprouted and then take them off.  Because the tubes have open bottoms, they can be transplanted directly into the soil.

If you do this, let me know how it goes.  You can also post pictures to the Momma Owl Flickr group.  In the meantime, I found something else to do with my left-over toilet paper tubes at The Green Wife - dryer lint kindling!

5 comments:

  1. This is a great idea for paper tubes! I love it!

    Also, congrats on your new little one!

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  2. This is a great idea! I have been saving my strawberry packages for something and this is what they will be next spring. I also pinned this. THANKS!

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  3. Thanks for the idea. We bought our first home this past fall and plan to start a vegetable garden this spring. What exactly are you doing with the egg carton? I'm missing it in the pictures. Also, what can you use instead of strawberry containers? We pick strawberries but it's by the flat. I would really like to do this. Thanks.

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  4. Doing this with our 4-H kids in early March. Collecting the containers has been a breeze since many in our town recycle them already anyways. Looking forward to this project with our kids. Thanks for posting!

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