Saturday, February 6, 2010

Toilet Paper and Newspaper

Tomorrow I will be planting my first bed - my compost bed using the compost crop mix from

Today I decided I would like to try an easy way to space the seeds, and prevent birds from getting them. The package states to broadcast the seeds.

I decided to try sandwiching the seeds between toilet paper sheets. I laid down a piece of toilet paper and moistened it with a spray bottle. I then arranged the seeds on the toilet paper piece, and covered with another piece of toilet paper. Finally, I sprayed the whole sandwich with plenty of water. My hope is that the sandwich will dry tonight and will be easy to place in my prepared bed tomorrow.

A problem with using toilet paper in this procedure is that it is designed to break apart in water, so it does not clog toilets and pipes. That is why I hope the sandwich dries out tonight. That way it might be easier to move in one piece. If it does break, I can still recover the seeds and plant them.

I considered using paper towels but decided I would need too many and that they are not cost or resource effective.

I made a similar seed sandwich using newspaper. Newspaper is more sturdy and may even be able to be moved while wet.

My concerns with both toilet paper and newspaper are:

1. I am using more outside resources than necessary.

2. I do not know what sort of effects these materials might have on the seedlings. The extra barrier might be a bit harder for the plants to break through. There might be chemicals in the papers that I do not want. The decomposition process for the papers might change the chemistry of the soil enough to have negative effects on the plants.

Tomorrow I will plant my seed sandwiches along with some broadcast seed. I do not anticipate much difference. I may even find that it would be less work not to use the toilet paper or newspaper, even if I decide to sow each seed by hand.

I will find out soon!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Good soil under rocks

I finally moved into my new home, and am ready to start gardening.

Yesterday I found the most fertile part of my yard - underneath a tree that I think might be a pecan tree. I will have to find out what it is. The most interesting thing about that area being the most fertile is that it is covered in decorative rocks. I assume leaves have fallen and made it under the rocks over the years, adding a good amount of organic material to the location.

Why do I think it is the most fertile? I was pulling up the volunteer clover plants and realized many had small intact roots. In other places in yard where I have pulled up clover, the roots don't always come up.

Maybe this does not mean the ground is fertile. But it does mean that the ground is good and airy. I will make a special effort to save the leaves that fall from this tree next year.

The next best soil I found in my yard was under a fence dividing my driveway from the neighbors. This narrow strip is also covered by rocks. I gathered quite a few earthworms as I pulled up clover plants from this area.

I think both areas were built up from decomposing leaves and other materials trapped by the rocks and fence. I might plant something in these areas.