I’ve just returned from the shed with a fresh set of sown Sweet Pea ‘Old Fashioned Mix’ seeds. However, instead of pots or trays, I’ve planted them inside old toilet roll middles.
I’ve actually been doing this for my sweet peas and climbing beans for years now, as these types of plants throw down long roots, and this allows them that extra bit of height that they wouldn’t otherwise get. You can buy root trainers, but they’re sometimes not that cheap, particularly in comparison to the free cardboard middles of toilet rolls.
All I’ve done is filled the toilet roll tube with compost (there’s no real easy way to do this), then take a seed (you could do two i guess) and poke it in about a cm, and water it in. Nature will take care of the rest. They’re now standing on my windowsill.
At the moment, there’s a craze for buying toilet rolls, so I wonder whether this means a boost in bean/pea related growing? I suspect not, but it’s a nice option – even if they save the middles for later or the next season rather than throwing them all into recycling. These tubes will decompose easily.
I’ve had problems with Sweet Peas in the past – if the aphids or slugs don’t get them, then the sunshine or the wind will instead.
I also rarely seem to be able to grow ones that can climb – i’ve tried all kinds of structures, ties, and other means to get them to go upwards, but all they want to do is fry, fall to bits, and fall over to the slugs. Fingers crossed (again) that these can cope with life. I did manage a little bit of colour with them last year late in the season, with the Sweet Pea ‘Cupani’ flowering for a few weeks.
Speaking of slugs, I’ve just sown my Spinach ‘Medania’ seeds in a row in the garden. The packet gives no date when to sow these, other than ‘early Spring’. This feels like that, with the lush green leaves emerging from the garden, so I gently made a shallow furrow for them in my garden, sowed a fairly thin line in the ground (in case they don’t do anything), and gently covered them over.
After adding a line marker, i’ve then covered them with a plastic tunnel, and wired up the ends as I know for a fact that this is now a vulnerable magnet for the neighbourhood cats who take great joy in digging up anything i’ve sown, or pooping on anything i’ve put out. Fingers crossed now that the wind doesn’t remove the tunnel, and the slugs don’t eat the seedlings.