I’ll have a Pea please Bob

I’m a month behind. tch tch. This time last year I’d pretty much sown all my peas, but this year, well I’ve been living it large in the Alps and I can’t sow peas there in winter! There’s still lots of time, but I like to sow peas early to avoid the heat of the summer and the potential for pea moths to chomp on my hard-earned peas before I do.

I’m back home for a week, and my green fingers are itching to get into the soil and garden, it’s time to sow, sow, sow.

I try and re-use before I recycle and saving loo roll inners and using them as seed pots seems a classic way to re-use. All you need to do is make 4 cuts at one end of the inner, about a cm / 1/2 an inch, fold these over and pop them into a container or tray. Then fill the inners up with compost, water them and get the compost to settle in, then pop a pea in each inner, cover with an inch or so of compost. And wait.

After they have germinated and have a few distinct leaves on you can plant them out in their loo roll inners, you just need to make sure that when you pop them into the ground the whole of the inner is completely covered otherwise the cardboard will dry out and the plant will snuff it. Alternatively rip the cardboard open and plant the pea plant as normal and compost the inners. You see, nothing is wasted.

Now there is no way I will ever use enough loo rolls, nor get enough loo roll inners from friends, or indeed friends of friends for me to grow all my seeds, so plastic pots are used as well. They now make bio-degradable plastic pots which is better but not brilliant. Another option is to check out your local garden centre, they often throw away their pots, or will have a box of them stacked somewhere, that are free to take home. So it’s a case of re-use, re-use ad infinitum until they need to go to recycling. Or of course you could make your own paper pots, I know Celi over at TheKitchensGarden  is a consummate fan of these.

Talking of re-use, the pots of peas will be housed in mushroom boxes, that way if it rains the water will drain off and out so the pots won’t be sitting in a couple of inches of water. You can pick them up from your grocers if you ask nicely 🙂

Last year was all about saving seeds for Seed Swaps or Exchanges, the plan was to for me to grow, sample and save these heritage varieties and pass them on. For the most part it worked a treat. This year, I’m bowing out of some of the seed swaps, I have enough seeds to sink the Navy let alone a Single Battleship, so it’s time to focus on growing what we like to eat.

I also need to replicate last year’s success, always tricky. It was the first year I can truly say we had a bumper crop of peas, yes we ate lots and blanched and froze even more, but the majority were for seed saving. Do you know how hard it is to go to your allotment and NOT pick peas? Bloody difficult is probably the most civil way I could describe it.

There’s plenty more to sow, but I’ve made a start.

  • Climbing Peas – Telephone, Champion Of England, Serpette Guilloteau, Robinson’s Purple Podded, Salmon Flowered, Espoir de Gembloux
  • Dwarf Peas – Old Homestead

And the title of the post? For those who were students or underemployed in the 80s/90s you’ll remember a programme called Blockbusters, and the memory of contestants asking for a “P” or rather a pee…..


  • This is such a great idea. I love recycling and reuse and this is just a terrific way to create pots for starting seeds. I just signed up to your blog and am looking forward to seeing how your garden grows. Here in Nashville, Tennessee is is already 70 degrees C. each day so I have already gotten my spring veggie garden started. Gardeners Unite!

    • Hi Teresa an dthanks for popping in and joinging in 🙂 I can’t imagine what 70 degrees feels like right now, it seems such a long time ago that I felt that kind of warmth! And I’m looking forward to seeing what you have planted. Happy Gardening !

      • hey, here’s something I’ve been wondering about. Have you ever done a post explaining the British concept of “Allotment” ? Is it a garden you own or rent? can anyone get one? are they near your home? I keep reading the word on various european blogs but have never understood it fully.

        • You know I’ve often wondered if people know what an allotment is, I have thought of doing a walkabout around our allotments so I could do a show and tell and maybe explain a bit more about them, so thanks for the suggestion, I just need a nice bright sunny day and my decent camera and lens.
          In the meantime an allotment is usually rented from the local authority/council, they vary in size, some you can keep chickens and bees on, and are there for people to garden and grow. As long as you live in the area and ar eover 16 then you can put your name down for one. As to their location mine is a 15-20 minute walk away, I know some people live further away and drive.
          I also realise my answers aren’t very good – too many gaps, so I’m going to go and have a proper think about allotments and what they are!

  • Hi Claire,
    Couldn’t you double your loo roll pots by cutting each loo roll in half? It looks like you only need about half the height you’ve got.

    • Hi Sharyn, yes I have done this in the past, for smaller seeds, but I guess this time round I was feeling a bit lazy and a bit rushed!! I also cut up the inners from kitchen paper too, they’re nice and long 🙂

  • Great idea, Claire, using the paper rolls for planting. I may have to fight my parrot for them but it’s a good idea. (The rolls are her favorite toy.) My seeds, what few I had, were planted this past Sunday. It’s a start …

    • If I had a parrot I’d give her my loo roll inners to play with, that sounds like too much fun for the parrot to miss out on 🙂 Besides I’d get to watch!

  • How neat!! What a great repurposing project! And my fingers are itching to garden.. I’m cleaning out my front pots in a few minutes!!

    • That’s good to hear you can get out to do a bit of sorting and clearing and cleaning. I like those jobs in the garden, the getting ready jobs!

  • I love using cardboard things for the sprouts since the ‘pots’ eventually compost and save me the trouble. Egg cartons, small boxes. This year I added cotton fabric bags, as some lovely small sewn ones were what my bulk seed arrived in from the company I decided to try. I’m very pleased with both the handling and condition of the seed I bought from them and also the apparently high germination rate I’m getting. And the seeds seem to be quite happy in their various cardboard and cotton starter homes.

    • Now there’s a bright ides, cotton bags that the seeds came in, how circular is that! It’s amazing what you can use when you look around you. I like the spirit of re-thinking about objects and how we can use them

  • I love your gardening tips. If I keep reading I might even learn something. At the moment my lettuce is doing great, tomato plants are growing and carrot tops are just beginning to show. Spinach not so good.

    • It sounds like your Spring garden is getting off to a great start, I’m quite a bit behind you here in terms of warmth so I’m a tad jealous!! Shame about the spinach, maybe it will play catch up later on!

  • I’ve never visited you before, Claire, and somehow your followed me over to my part of the world. That’s very kind of you. That curried winter squash is something I must try. I want to like squash, but never find a recipe that will make me go back for seconds. Maybe that would do the trick. Now I have to scour your sight for all kinds of good things to eat.

    • Hi Dave, I meant to say hi properly to you too when I came across your blog, I came over from Nia’s blog and was instantly captivated by your photos and world. This winter has been spent in the Alps so I’ve had a “white snow” view of the world for a few months too.
      I love curried squash, but I think my persoanl favourites would have to be the South Indian one I have posted about and some of the dry Indian style ones, which I need to write up!!

  • What a great idea, Claire! I saw Celi’s paper pots, and thought they were great, too. I had peat pots left from last year and used them, but I can see great purpose in your recycling suggestion. I’ll have a whole year to save! My little seedlings are popping up and raring to go. Maybe I’ll have time for a second sowing and can try some of the paper rolls! 🙂 Debra

    • You know it’s strange but I never really got on with peat pots, they always seemed to dry out too quickly for me, plus I try and avoid using peat so have phased them out. But I know other gardeners who swear by them, so I must be doing something wrong! I’m looking forward to seeing your seedlings and what you are growing. Happy gardening Debra 🙂

  • brilliant! all our loo rolls are currently used for making things by the two year old, lots of cutting, drawing, sticking, to produce cats, girls and other figures with various kinds of string and sticky tape ears and skirts and hair, and meticulous smiles drawn with fierce concentration … so have to wait for this phase to end, then it is definitely compostable plant pots.

  • I should send you our loo rolls 😉 Spanish ones seem to be very loosely wound and we go through loads! We tried a few times to grow peas here but they didn´t like the heat 😦

    • Oh I know the ones you mean, why roll them so loosely? It drives me nuts! You could use the inners for other seeds, such a shame about the peas

  • Love the idea for homemade pots! We’ve been giving some of our rolls to the Guinea Pigs (who think they are great fun to chew up), but I guess I need to start collecting the rest!

    • Hi Inger, I used to have a Guinea Pig, so sweet and gentle, I couldn’t possibly deprive your Guinea Pig the pleasure of tearing away at a loo roll!!

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