Posted by: ceara08 | March 27, 2009

Starting Beans and Peas in Cardboard Tubes

Interesting, there was a search linking to my blog about starting runner beans in paper towel rolls. I had intended to write something about it before. Coincidence? *laughs*

I have never, ever done this before. But will use this method for the very first time the 2009 growing season. We have been saving toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes all winter, and I have almost 3 plastic containers full now.

Paper towel and Toilet Paper cardboard tubes

Paper towel and Toilet Paper cardboard tubes

You can still see we have a lot of snow outside!  But it’s melting fast now that we’re experiencing above zero temperatures all week.  Winter’s back has broken and Spring is officially on its way here in cold Zone 4.

For uniformity’s sake, I put a toilet paper tube against the paper towel tube, draw a line and cut. This way, when they are all stacked into the plastic containers, they are the same height. You can get two out of one paper towel roll with a bit left over. These little bits I put into the fire starting material box near our wood burning stove. But you could put them into your compost, or even just cut into two and have some longer tubes and some shorter tubes.

Anyway, I have been doing some reading about growing pea and bean seeds in these tubes, and have learned from more than one source that there might possibly be residue of some sort left over from the manufacture of these tubes that may prevent seed germination within the tube itself.  But there should not be a problem growing once they are transplanted into the tubes.

My method will be to germinate the seeds in a damp paper towel on a plate, and once I see that little tap root pop out from the seeds, they will be gently transferred to the tubes and left to grow.

Some folks recommend a product called “Root Trainers.”  These are plastic containers that you can open up longways and stack in another container like books.  By being able to open the plastic up you don’t have to yank on the plant above the potting mixture and no need to push up underneath, destroying your seed trays.  (My dear hubby, bless him, has destroyed more seed trays than I can remember.)

Read on a blog, <a href=”“>Daughter of the Soil, where she uses the Root Trainers and also discusses the cardboard tube method.

She’s a bit braver than me and purchased some root trainers. I find them a bit too expensive for my tastes. Perhaps in the future we will buy some, but not this year.

Besides, the cardboard tubes are free pretty much. Well, not free exactly, for the price of the tubes is included in the price of the paper roll product. Any time you purchase something, you’re paying for the container and anything that comes with the product. So why throw it away! Better to recycle. Or if you don’t want to use tubes at all, then please put into your compost pile or bin.


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