Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toilet paper fail

It looks like my little experiment in seed sowing with toilet paper rolls might be coming to an early end as I spotted fungal mycelia this morning in several cells and on the side of some toilet paper rolls.

Strangely enough, the one plastic 4-cell pack that I did sow is fungus-free.

I think this has to do with the fact that I thoroughly disinfected the plastic pots by soaking in 10% bleach, whereas the toilet paper rolls were not disinfected at all. Also, I think that the toilet paper rolls might still have been too wet even after drying overnight. Instead of bottom-watering the filled TP rolls before sowing, I should have probably dampened the medium, let it dry to an acceptable level of moistness, then add it to the container, then sown. Live and learn.

I'm going to try to save the stuff I've sown in toilet paper rolls by spraying with chamomile tea and sprinkling with cinnamon. In the meantime, I will be moving the rolls out of the germination and propagation station and onto the top of my fridge in an attempt to save the rest of the plants (including the lithops seedlings!) from collateral damage.


  1. I'm planning on using my TP rolls for potting up transplants. Good to learn from your experience first. Thanks.

  2. I suppose that's some consolation :) Are you starting these seedlings in plastic cells first?

  3. Soil blocks first. Granted, I may not need the tubes at all. Although,
    I was thinking why not try wetting the tubes in a diluted bleach
    solution first. If leaching is a concern, why not follow with a water

  4. Oh, that's right! I forgot about the soil blocks.

    Might try the bleach approach in future, but for now, I'm out of TP tubes so it's a moot point.

    On all future starts, I will definitely try some of the pro-active approaches that Clothier suggests here http://bit.ly/fZkjYd, namely covering seeds with coarse sand or fine grit (rather than seed starting medium) and misting with anti-fungals.

    And, of course, using less wet medium in the first place.

  5. Too bad about the fungus. Your set-up looked so promising. I think your alternate process of dampening the medium sounds like a better idea.

    I'm really interested in your winter sowing project – hoping it's the perfect solution for northern climate, limited space, balcony gardeners. Looking forward to your reports and pics when the thaw begins.

  6. I can't wait to see what happens with the wintersown seeds either ... temperatures are hovering just below 0 this week, so spring must be just around the corner!

    Funny thing is, I'm preparing another batch of 3 or 4 containers because I couldn't resist picking up even more seeds at Seedy Sunday Toronto :P

  7. Some worthwhile comments on my crossposted Folia report: http://myfolia.com/journals/97405-tp-roll-fail