Photo/Illustration: Christine Erikson
I save our empty cardboard toilet-paper rolls throughout the year, cut them in half, and use them in the spring for seed-starting pots. Up to 66 halves fit snugly onto a metal baking sheet, which conducts heat efficiently on my seed-starting heat mats. The rolls are easy to fill with soil and to plant seeds in.
When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted, I slide them partially down through the tubes, soil and all. When planted in the ground, the upper parts of the tubes that stick up above the soil line provide warm little protective enclosures for the delicate seedlings, and the lower parts of the tubes serve as protection against destructive cutworms. The tubes decompose as the season progresses, when the seedlings no longer need their support and protection.