Here is my first attempt at constructing paper “root trainers”. They should encourage seedlings to grow deep root systems (plenty of soil there and some degree of barrier effect from the rolled paper) but a slit along the side should make it easy to release them. Once emptied, the tubes will be too degraded to reuse but can be thrown on the compost heap to assimilate with everything else.
To make them, I took a newspaper and tore each double page sheet into six, down the major fold and then into thirds across each page. I then took each strip of paper and rolled into a loose cylinder. A wine bottle proved a good form for tightening the roll (not too tight though, otherwise you can’t lift it off once done) and I worked round the ends, folding them down a few times (a couple of folds, then reversing the tube on the bottle). I ended up with 3-4 small folds at each end, which is enough to hold the tube shape and give the ends some strength.
To complete them, I stuffed them with my potting mixture (a mixture of fine compost and perlite) and watered them. Later today I’ll water again and then pop some seeds in. Here is the finished collection: