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Weekly Gardening Thread (Transplanting Tomatoes) Vol. 10, March 9, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012 | JustaDumbBlonde

Posted on 03/09/2012 10:51:08 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde

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Good afternoon gardeners! After a high of 81 degrees yesterday, we are at 50 degrees today after experiencing high winds and 3 inches of rain last night. Radar would indicate that there is more rain to come, as I see it in Texas right now. I hope that all of our Texas gardeners are catching up on much needed rain! PTL!

We have so many new gardeners in our group, in addition to folks with the desire to begin gardening, that I thought a primer on transplanting might be useful. Please feel free to add to the discussion with your regular practices. And, as always, please feel free to ask any questions that you may have. This group loves to share information, and advice is free for the asking!

Because I plant over 100 tomato plants every year, I've got my transplanting down to a science that works for me and allows me to move down the row quickly. My tools are a bulb planter, a old spoon from the kitchen, a small bucket and several 2-liter soda bottles. (One day I'd love to do a thread on all of the common non-garden-related items we all use in our gardens.)

I start off my mixing up several bottles of a starter fertilizer, either the TNT pictured below, or Miracle Grow Quick Start. Whatever you use, make sure it is a low-nitrogen product, or you will grow lovely leaves and not much else. I also put some tomato food around the base of the tomato after transplant. Please notice the N-P-K formulation on these products. Similar products from any manufacturer are fine, these are what stores in my area offer for sale.

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My tomatoes are planted through a commercial quality landscape fabric for weed control and moisture retention. It has other benefits, but weed control is my major concern. I begin by measuring off 30 inch increments and marking them on my fabric, then I go back and cut X's in the fabric and fold the corners under to access the soil.

Begin by digging your hole. I use a bulb planter because it makes the perfect diameter hole for a transplant that comes from a commercial 6-9 pack, or the small newspaper pots that I make myself. Tomatoes should be planted "deep", so dig your hole accordingly.

Here is an example of a bulb planter:

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By "deep", I mean that you are going to plant more than just the roots, you are going to plant at least half of the stalk as well, up to 3/4 of the height of the plant is perfectably acceptable. Bonnie Plants, which supplies the likes of WalMart, Lowes and Home Depot garden centers, used to suggest 80% of the plant stem, but they have since backed that off to 2/3. This method is really the ONLY way to grow the strongest possible plant. Roots will develop on the entire length of the stem that is buried, giving your plants lots of roots to anchor the plant, as well as the ability to absorb more moisture and nutrients. In the photo below, the top of my index finger is indicating how deep I'm going to plant this tomato.

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The next photo shows that I have pinched-off the leaves of the plant up to the point that I will bury the stem. This is not a required step, many folks let them stay, but it is my personal preference to remove them to avoid air pockets around the new roots.

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Next, gently place your plant in the hole you've prepared. You can see from the photos below that there is enough room in the hole to surround the delicate roots with looser soil to accomodate quick spread and avoid transplant shock.

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In the next step, you should replace the soil you removed with the bulb planter, just enough to cover the existing rootball. I use the small bucket to break up the soil and hold it until I'm ready to put it back. If you're not working on landscape fabric, of course you can keep the soil on the ground next to the hole. The important thing is making sure you break it up well.

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Then water that soil in with your starter fertilizer/water mixture. Water until the loose soil is underwater and then allow it to soak in. It only takes a minute or less.

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After the water soaks in and settles the loose soil, fill in the remainder of the hole, and build it up to a small pyramid. The next rain or watering will take that pyramid down to level ground and, if it doesn't, that's okay too. At this point if you have not already fertilized your soil, place a tablespoon or two of a good tomato fert around the base of the plant. DO NOT let the crystals touch the stem!

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My final step is unfolding the landscape fabric to cover the soil, and standing back to watch the growth!

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The Weekly Gardening Thread is a weekly gathering of folks that love soil, seeds and plants of all kinds. From complete newbies that are looking to start that first potted plant, to gardeners with some acreage, to Master Gardener level and beyond, we would love to hear from you.

This thread is non-political, although you will find that most here are conservative folks. No matter what, you won’t be flamed and the only dumb question is the one that isn’t asked.

It is impossible to hijack the Weekly Gardening Thread ... there is no telling where it will go and that is part of the fun and interest. Jump in and join us!


TOPICS: Agriculture; Food; Gardening; Hobbies
KEYWORDS: garden; gardening; tomatoes; transplant
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To: Arrowhead1952

Poor family, I include the dog, as he’s part of the family. I’ll bet it’s miserable most of the time outside. Is there nothing the vet can do to help the poor thing?


201 posted on 03/11/2012 6:45:04 PM PDT by tillacum
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Time to get serious!

Last year I did a lot of work in my backyard and turned over probably 400 sq ft with a spade, just taking the rocks out and mixing it up good.

This time I decided it was time to break out THE TILLER!!

This puppy ain’t some housewife tiller that you see in a department store, this guy is brutal.

MTD with a six horse B&S engine, my buddy bought it in the early 70’s and it cost 375 bucks back then, dead weight over 200 pounds, it can rattle your teeth out if you lose control...!!!
Surprised it doesn’t have a pto output shaft!


202 posted on 03/11/2012 9:12:43 PM PDT by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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To: Ellendra

Peas, radishes, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, celery can all be started quite early. Taters too.


203 posted on 03/11/2012 9:16:54 PM PDT by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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To: djf

Beets you can sow early also.


204 posted on 03/11/2012 9:18:37 PM PDT by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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To: tillacum

The vet has given the dog some shots and special food, but the poor dog only is allowed to go out and do its business for now. It still loses hair if he stays outside too long.


205 posted on 03/12/2012 5:56:26 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Dear God, thanks for the rain, but please let it rain more in Texas. Amen.)
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To: Arrowhead1952

Poor thing, hopefully the meds and special food will help it.

I’m replanting some of my radishes, and finish planting some other stuff, now that the rain has stopped and the “river” in my back yard has quit running. I’ve planted some Cherokee Trail of Tears black beans, now I’ll plant some Ky Blue Lakes. Is it time for Okra yet? My salad greens and popping up, surprising the rain didn’t bother the little seeds and so is the lettuce.


206 posted on 03/12/2012 6:04:59 AM PDT by tillacum
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To: Arrowhead1952
My sister had a dog with severe allergies that had to stay inside a lot. Their vet advised them to give him Benedryl. It seemed to work on the dog.
It doesn't do diddley for my wife's allergies, though.
207 posted on 03/12/2012 6:16:10 AM PDT by rightly_dividing (You cannot put a gun rack in a Volt !)
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To: tillacum

I plant lettuce almost year round. I’d wait a little longer before planting okra.


208 posted on 03/12/2012 6:27:56 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Dear God, thanks for the rain, but please let it rain more in Texas. Amen.)
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To: rightly_dividing

Thanks. I’ll tell her about Benedryl.


209 posted on 03/12/2012 6:28:49 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Dear God, thanks for the rain, but please let it rain more in Texas. Amen.)
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To: Arrowhead1952
We give it to one of my wife's dogs occasionally when he gets itchy, also.
210 posted on 03/12/2012 6:57:56 AM PDT by rightly_dividing (You cannot put a gun rack in a Volt !)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
The mild spring has my 'start-the-garden-early' bone itching, but I'm not going to be fooled again.

The girls have taken to one of Mrs. Augie's flower beds. They'll have the entire yard to run for another 45 days or so. Once the planting starts they stay in the hen yard.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

211 posted on 03/12/2012 8:37:52 AM PDT by Augie
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To: Arrowhead1952

Well, I think I’ll follow your lead and keep my lettuce growing too. In fact, I’m going to do a fall garden and when can we begin a winter garden? Ok, I’ll wait on the okra. My tomatoes are doing well. I still have a couple of molasses pots to fill. My potatoes are doing their thing, and I think I’ll plant more, but in buckets this time.


212 posted on 03/12/2012 8:46:50 AM PDT by tillacum
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To: Augie

Nice photo. Is that rock on your property?


213 posted on 03/12/2012 9:13:30 AM PDT by tubebender (I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.)
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To: djf

Ha! Sounds like you could break the soil and a limb or two all in one outing ... lol.


214 posted on 03/12/2012 9:23:45 AM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: Augie

They look very content!


215 posted on 03/12/2012 9:25:39 AM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: tubebender

The rock comes out of a creek bed on the family homestead farm ~15 miles from where we live.

There’s not a rock to be found on my place that wasn’t hauled in from somewhere else.


216 posted on 03/12/2012 11:06:37 AM PDT by Augie
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To: djf

I’ve read that, but this is very early. We’re still a solid freeze and 2 snowstorms away from our usual spring.


217 posted on 03/12/2012 12:06:20 PM PDT by Ellendra ("It's astounding how often people mistake their own stupidity for a lack of fairness." --Thunt)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Today is the first day of all day sun in our new digs. I am still trying to decide on how to orient my new garden. It looks like which ever orientation I decide to take that the garden would get full morning sun until around 1 to 2 PM and then be shaded the rest of the afternoon. At least at this time of year. The shade might be a blessing this summer?


218 posted on 03/12/2012 1:42:55 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Red_Devil 232

That shade may well be good. Our garden was shaded from 2pm on and I believe that is why we had live, producing tomatos last year when everyboby else had their’s burned up in the 100deg+ afternoon sun. Just my guess, for whatever it’s worth.


219 posted on 03/12/2012 3:03:11 PM PDT by rightly_dividing ("You can not put a gun rack in a Volt")
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To: rightly_dividing

Yeah I think you may be right and I get your point. I had to supply artificial shade last year to my garden. Especially in the afternoon. Looked down right ugly with old white sheets draped all over the place. This is going to be an interesting season for me, as yours was last year.


220 posted on 03/12/2012 5:57:45 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: rightly_dividing

I went to the Harrison County Extension Service this morning and picked up the instructions and a soil sample bag. I also Met the local County Agent and he said once I get my results back from Stephen F. Austin State Univ. to stop by and he would explain what it means and everything I need to do for my veggie garden, nice people!

I have already dug my samples (10) and they are mixed thoroughly together now and sitting in the bag ready to be mailed off. One big (maybe) problem I found while taking the soil samples - the owner of this property had laid a brick paved walkway of some sort, years ago, and it is completely hidden about an inch below the grass surface right in the center of my planed garden area. I have not determined it’s extent yet. I am glad I found it before trying to till up the area.


221 posted on 03/13/2012 9:55:07 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Augie

Wow a chicken garden. How do you plant the eggs?


222 posted on 03/13/2012 9:56:57 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Red_Devil 232
Sounds like you got first class treatment from your ext agent as I did from mine. I gave the guy my garden measurments and he told me just how much to use and where to buy it, a local seed company. I am sold on the soil sampling. I now know why my squash and peppers did nothing last year. My PH was way off. Also I had no, none, nitrogen. He said it was a wonder that I got any maters at all. We were feeding them regular, though, with MG Tomato food.

It would have been ugly to hit bricks with the tiller.

Good luck with the garden.

223 posted on 03/13/2012 11:23:04 AM PDT by rightly_dividing ("You can not put a gun rack in a Volt")
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To: JustaDumbBlonde; Sparky1776

Right, that has got to be the way to do it!

I have all kinds of things I could use to raise the shorter plants closer to the lights.

Thanks so much!

I seeded Spanish Onions and California Poppy on Monday. The first frost free date here is the third week of May, but it’s so warm here right now that I am tempted to sow some lettuce in a raised bed. LOL.


224 posted on 03/13/2012 4:13:38 PM PDT by fanfan (This is not my Father's Ontario. http://www.ontariolandowners.ca/)
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To: Ellendra; afraidfortherepublic; Diana in Wisconsin

I just checked your home page to see what state you’re in, and I must say I love your picture! You just GO, Elf Girl !
LOL, Good for you!

We get the same weather. I’m in zone 4A/B, and am afraid to start my seeds too early. This warmth is so tempting!

How are you doing AftR and Diana?


225 posted on 03/13/2012 4:52:50 PM PDT by fanfan (This is not my Father's Ontario. http://www.ontariolandowners.ca/)
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To: rightly_dividing

Do you remember how long it took for you get the results back from your soil test? Did they mail it or send it via e-mail?


226 posted on 03/13/2012 6:24:19 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: djf

The tiller I was renting over in Mississippi was a Brute also. I used it just to break up the sod for the first time and then a couple passes to get a deep till. I used my housewife tiller to do some final tilling.

In my current situation I will need to rent another brute of a tiller here in Marshall, Tx.


227 posted on 03/13/2012 6:32:58 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Red_Devil 232

Bust it up good! Add some good compost to fluff it up, hold the moisture, and keep it from compacting.

I’m sort of lucky because my dog lived in my back yard for 16 yrs till he died. The dirt is black as coal, and there are earthworms back there as big as cobras!

Just in some places I’m still not sure how many/big rocks there are, so last year, I used the spade.

Every time I use that tiller I’m astounded that it even starts...!!

(But I am pretty good with small engines)


228 posted on 03/13/2012 6:51:46 PM PDT by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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To: Red_Devil 232

And I bought some strawberry plants today, I have another spot about 25X12 feet that I’m gonna do totally with berries.
Might pick up some path stones to make a walkway in it...


229 posted on 03/13/2012 6:54:52 PM PDT by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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To: djf

The small tiller that I have was bought about 15 years ago by my Father. I found it in his storage unit after he died. It was still in its original box. It is very, very hard to start. But once it is running it wont quit until you hit the kill switch.


230 posted on 03/13/2012 7:52:00 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: djf

Have you looked into strawberry tower planters?


231 posted on 03/13/2012 7:56:15 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: fanfan

I’m doing fine, except that my knees are still bothering me from that fall I took in the ice in Jan. It was 70 degrees here today, and it’s tempting to hit the garden store. I have to pinch myself and remember that it is only March. We start planting here in May.


232 posted on 03/13/2012 9:13:32 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Red_Devil 232

Get a can of starter fluid, and choke it good when you go to start it. Save you alot of frustration.

Most small engines will have a bit of a vapor lock in the carb if they’ve sat for even a couple hours.

Once it’s been going for three minutes or so, if you shut it off it should re-start immediately with one pull.

If it runs after that, but intermittently stops, check the fuel filter. If it has been a while since you used it and it had older gas in it, DUMP OUT ALL OLD GAS AND USE FRESH GAS ONLY!

I’ve literally seen a half inch of water in a quart of gas I dumped out of the tiller after setting over winter. Most gas these days have ethanol in it, and it will absorb water right out of the atmosphere.


233 posted on 03/13/2012 10:06:59 PM PDT by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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To: Red_Devil 232

It was quick, about a week to ten days, but mine went to Texas A&M at College Station. They mailed the anlyasis to me. But a week is not quick enough with planting time upon us, but you should still be in good shape.


234 posted on 03/14/2012 7:15:14 AM PDT by rightly_dividing ("You can not put a gun rack in a Volt")
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To: rightly_dividing

Thanks!


235 posted on 03/14/2012 7:53:16 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: djf

Good Info, Thanks.


236 posted on 03/14/2012 8:25:03 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Ellendra; fanfan

Any gal with a bow and arrow is good in my book!


237 posted on 03/14/2012 2:33:54 PM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I’m having the same trouble. Aren’t these temperatures wonderful? If they don’t last tho...

I really want to seed some lettuce outside.

Knees are a pain in the..... ;-)


238 posted on 03/14/2012 5:03:11 PM PDT by fanfan (This is not my Father's Ontario. http://www.ontariolandowners.ca/)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

JDB, those photos and your instructions are priceless! I’m going to try it this year. Oh, and could you add me to your ping list as well? Thank you!


239 posted on 03/14/2012 5:10:43 PM PDT by MWestMom (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, But the heart of the fool to the left. Ecclesiastes10:2)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde; Ellendra
Any gal with a bow and arrow is good in my book!

Me too.

Mmmmm. Meat. (Because we don't hunt lettuce with an arrow.) :-D

Do you actually do archery Ellendra? I used to, and I loved it.

240 posted on 03/14/2012 5:16:30 PM PDT by fanfan (This is not my Father's Ontario. http://www.ontariolandowners.ca/)
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To: MWestMom
Well, I am tickled pink that we were able to help! Welcome to the group. Look forward to your participation.

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241 posted on 03/14/2012 5:26:41 PM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

I haven’t gotten all the way through this great thread yet, but wondered if anyone has used toilet paper rolls for seedling pots?


242 posted on 03/14/2012 5:27:29 PM PDT by MWestMom (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, But the heart of the fool to the left. Ecclesiastes10:2)
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To: fanfan
Do you actually do archery Ellendra?

I used to. I was pretty good at it, too, but I messed up my shoulders pretty badly and can't draw a bow anymore. I miss it.
243 posted on 03/14/2012 7:20:15 PM PDT by Ellendra ("It's astounding how often people mistake their own stupidity for a lack of fairness." --Thunt)
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To: MWestMom; Gabz
"... but wondered if anyone has used toilet paper rolls for seedling pots?"

I've got a HUGE plastic bag full of TP and paper towel rolls, but I haven't used them. I believe that Gabz has. Hopefully she has tips to share.

244 posted on 03/15/2012 12:05:32 AM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: SpeakLittle_ThinkMuch
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245 posted on 03/15/2012 7:07:19 PM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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