Part 1 – Gardening With Kids: Planting from Seeds (using toilet rolls)

growing herbs from seeds using toielt rolls

I’m not good at keep plants alive but for a long time now I’ve wanted to (successfully) do a  herb/vege garden with the children. Something simple and basic, so there’s that connection between the ground and the food we eat.

I talked to one of my friends about it, she works for About the Garden Magazine, and asked her to help me and — yay — we are on our way!

I’ve broken this gardening project into steps to make it manageable, and so it fits easily around family life (rather than allocating an entire day to attempt to achieve it all).  Because we don’t have a garden bed, I will be doing this herb garden out of the ground.  I hope this inspires others to grow a few things in their own gardens, because if I can do it (which remains to be seen) than anyone can!

Part 1 – Planting from Seeds

This first part of the gardening project is easy and simple (and fun for the kids).  We plant seeds into toilet rolls until they are seedlings and ready to be transplanted to the garden bed.

What you need

Toilet rolls

Plastic container (something like an empty ice-cream container works well)

Seedling mix (I used Searles Seed Raising Specialty Mix)

Seeds (of choice)

Permanent Marker

growing herbs from seeds

Searles Seed Raising Specialty Mix


Below are the seeds I’m using for my herb patch.

  • Mint
  • Spinach
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Coriander

growing herbs from seeds using toielt rolls

Step 1

Line toilet rolls vertically along the base of the plastic container. Place as many toilet rolls as the container will allow.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 2

Fill the toilet rolls with the soil seedling mix, about half way up the toilet roll. It doesn’t matter if the soil goes out of the toilet rolls and into the plastic container.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 3

For identification purposes, choose different colours for each herb.  Then mark each toilet roll and the relevant seed packet with the corresponding colour.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

gardening with kids -- colour code

Step 4

Place a few seeds in each toilet roll, according to the colour coding. Some of the seeds are so tiny, that we sprinkled a few and hoped for the best. It’s interesting to talk about the shape, colour and size of the different seeds with the children.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 5

Fold the sachet containing the remaining seeds over a few times.  Then, place the sachet back in the identification packet and store in a container or zip lock bag.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 6

Cover the seeds with the soil, until the toilet roll is about 3/4 full.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 7

Son waited patiently for the watering part.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Give the seeds a good water, until the water level is sitting about half way up the container.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 8

Most herbs need a sunny position (guides are on the back of each packet), so we found a nice spot and watered our mini garden every couple of days.

growing herbs from seeds using toielt rolls

HELLO! After only a week we had spouts.  It really does feel like magic when you see the green shooting up from the dark earth.  The kids were so excited.  Now, after a few weeks, we are ready to plant the seeds into our make-shift garden.

Watch out for the next post in this gardening series.


Part 1 Rainbow Garden: Paint Pots

Part 2 Rainbow Garden: Planting Nasturtiums


This is not a sponsored post.  I fortunately know a lovely friend who works for Searles and About the Garden Magazine, and she supplied me with the soil and expertise to help me do this. Thank you Renee x

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  • Reply
    Nicole Grant
    September 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Love this post! We grew a cherry tomato plant from seed and appreciated the fruit so much more. It’s been great for my girls to watch them grow and while they generally don’t love tomatoes, for some reason they are happy to eat these 🙂

  • Reply
    Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy
    September 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I have been wondering what I was going to do with the two bags full of toilet rolls and now I know!! Can’t wait to see them when they’ve grown. Ill have to give this a try although my track record of growing seedlings is quite poor!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I love this post. This Sunday, definitely i ‘ll try with my kid. thank you

  • Reply
    September 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Yahooo……….They are looking fabulous Kelly, so delighted to see them sprouting…… you DID it!
    Can’t wait to see them ‘graduate’ to the big garden.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Kelly, I have wanted to do a garden with my girls for ages, but have no clue where to start. I will be following your efforts with great interest! Just wanted to say too, that I have read your blog regularly for quite some time (couple of years!), and I love it! You seem to have great relationships with your kids, are so positive (love it!) and have some really helpful and inspiring blog posts. God bless you! Mel.

  • Reply
    September 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Good idea! We just got a heap of seeds, and we certainly have toilet rolls! So this will work well 🙂

  • Reply
    Danya Banya
    September 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Great idea! We have loads of toilet paper rolls that I’ve been collecting. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    It’s so exciting when the seeds come up isn’t it? My kids love gardening and this is such a good time of year to plant things.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I love your colour coding method!
    When we first started growing from seed we used toilet rolls and they worked really well. But we found that with our often cold springs that we needed bigger pots so we could keep our seeds inside and protected for longer before planting, so now we fold newspaper pots which also work well.

    There is nothing like seeing your seeds spring into life!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Love planting seeds with my girls and always mean to try the toilet roll idea so thanks for the reminder! The colour coding is absolute genius as i always have trouble naming so many seedlings!!Wish I had a friend like yours with all the gardening we do hehe….your gardening is flourishing!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I love this! Thanks for showing us exactly how it’s done. I’d love to see progress pics (I’ll be checking instagram so keep them coming!). Might have a go of this ourselves 🙂

  • Reply
    Bek {Just For Daisy}
    September 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Love the idea of using toilet rolls for seedlings. Miss Daisy (and Li’l Peppa) love our vege patch! They are so at home there and will often pick things straight out and munch on them…even if they don’t like the taste of cabbage leaves after all! 🙂 It’s such a nice time together each day tending to our garden! 🙂 Look forward to more gardening posts from you!

  • Reply
    Kate R
    September 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    What a great idea! I am such a non gardener but aspire to be more so mainly for the kids’ sake. I think even I could manage this and I know my kids would be so delighted to see that little seedling poking out of the toilet roll holder. Time to start saving the toilet rolls! Thanks for a great post with easy to follow instructions!

  • Reply
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