In the Garden with The Little Veggie Patch Co – How to Propagate Peas

by Jenny Butler
Tuesday 28th February 2012

After learning how to create an Apple Crate Garden yesterday, today Mat and Fabian teach us an easy (and kid friendly!) method of propagating veggies from seeds. We also have 10 copies of The Little Veggie Patch Co. book to giveaway thanks to Macmillian – simply leave a comment before 10pm on Thursday 1st March to be in the draw! – Jenny x

Today, propagating seeds is your opportunity to feel gardener-like and resourceful. Not only that, but as people of science, we are no doubt using seeds from the previous year’s harvest and evolving our crops further. Charles would be proud! Don’t bother with your gardening gloves, this will only take a minute or two.

How to Propagate Peas


  • toilet roll tubes
  • seed-raising mix
  • 50–100 pea seeds
  • watering can (with fan spray)

Seeds can be grown in trays, either outside, indoors or in a greenhouse. When using such small quantities of soil or compost, it is a good idea to moisten the soil before sowing to prevent the seeds from washing away during their first watering. Another trick is to cover the trays with dampened sheets of newspaper after sowing, thus retaining the moisture and keeping the soil temperature constant.

1. Cut the toilet roll tubes in half and place on a tray.

2. Fill the tubes with seed-raising mix and firm down gently.

3. Water the mix to ensure all ingredients are moist and, using the tip of your index finger, create a hole in each tube to a depth of 2–3 cm.

4. Place 2 pea seeds in each hole.

5. Sprinkle more seed-raising mix into the tubes and gently firm down.

6. Water thoroughly with a fan spray. The seeds shouldn’t require further watering until germination, unless conditions are particularly warm.

7. Once the seeds have germinated, you may need to thin them out so that only one seedling remains in each cell. Do this by gently removing the excess seedling.

8. After 2–3 weeks, your seedlings will be ready to be planted in their designated spot in the veggie garden, toilet roll tubes and all.

Mat and Fabian

by Jenny Butler
Tuesday 28th February 2012


  • Evelyn 5 years ago

    What a great idea, I’ll save all my toilet rolls from now on!

  • Lisa Rodden 5 years ago

    This is brilliant – well done guys. Like painting, gardening is soul food. It’s all about the act of creating of something positive.

  • Sharon 5 years ago

    You make it look so simple, even I think I could haves go at being a green thumb!

  • Catherine 5 years ago

    We have 2 of your apple crates in our tiny backyard, and we are so looking forward to filling them with pea plants now! (I bet the possums next door will love them too!!!)
    thanks for inspiring little and big gardeners in little and big gardens

  • Kate 5 years ago

    Loving the small gardening tips! I have very limited space and had given up on growing anything but herbs, but you’ve got me thinking maybe a little more is possible!

  • Fig 5 years ago

    Love the photography in the book! This book looks like a winner if one (me) wants to learn about the art of gardening, no matter what size the garden is. :)

  • Kylie 5 years ago

    What a fantastic idea, I am really keen to save and get myself one of these gardens!

  • robbie 5 years ago

    This is a great idea for our new school vegie patch!

  • Brendan 5 years ago

    Love it… this is so cute. I am already picturing little garden ideas with my neices and nephews… I just have to paint my thumbs a little greener and get on with it… thanks guys!

  • Heidi 5 years ago

    Great ideas!

  • margie 5 years ago

    oh FAB soil pouring tip!! I use your method already, but when filling the rolls I end up with soil everywhere… Such a waste. Thanks! Esther Deans would be proud…

  • Em 5 years ago

    TP cores = genius! Much better than the egg cartons. I’ll have to fight my pooches for them because they are their favourite toys. Weirdos.

  • Joanna 5 years ago

    awesome stuff, thanks guys…

  • Katie 5 years ago

    can i peas win a book?! love it! :)

  • Chris 5 years ago

    It’s so exciting to have some gardeners on the guest blog. I discovered my greenish thumb a couple of years ago, and haven’t looked back. Even though I’m just a beginner, there is nothing more satisfying than growing and eating your own produce…especially when you’ve grown it in a tiny backyard!

    Looking forward to the rest of the week :)

  • Chris 5 years ago

    Great idea! Might have to start to get grow peas.

  • Kylie R 5 years ago

    I put my hand up at primary school this morn to do a science lesson with the preps. I can’t believe how timely your idea is! Thank you from a very happy Mum.

  • mish 5 years ago

    Toilet paper rolls! too sweet!!

  • Stephanie Fuller 5 years ago

    Great article!! The last garden I tried with our kids got eaten by caterpillars, so I turned it into a science lesson, complete with a reading of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, lol. I’d be willing to try again!!

  • SImon 5 years ago

    Peased to see you guys guest blogging on Design Sponge – love the pease of your ideas!

  • Kat 5 years ago

    Hmm, this seems a little like those TV cooking shows that make everything look so simple and easy and stylish and non-mess producing and in reality is probably exactly that – except that it always seems so hard to try it at home. But perhaps I’ll try it and see…

  • the gook 5 years ago

    I want to pull my green thumb out. I love your crates and wish you made mini ones for my wee tiny balcony.

  • Lauren 5 years ago

    I am a real beginner in the garden so LOVING these guest blog posts!

  • Katefish 5 years ago

    My lovely old mum used to plant her Sweet peas in toilet rolls to make ’em grow tall and straight ” like little soldiers” Great to be reminded! Tx

  • Georgie 5 years ago

    Love this idea. Thanks guys!

  • Kirsty 5 years ago

    Recycling and sustainability all in the one process. I. Love. It.

  • Sue 5 years ago

    One less thing to go in the recycling bin! Hurrah! I love these guys – their little shop is just so divine!

  • Ness 5 years ago

    Great posts, looking forward to the last couple. Would love to win the book so I get off my arse and plant my little garden…

  • Tanya 5 years ago

    I didn’t think I could grow much in the tiny space I had but these guys give ideas and inspiration,also that oft needed kick in the rear. Nothing better than popping out to the garden to help decide what’s for dinner that night, or just grabbing a few leaves of the freshest lettuce you’ll ever half. Bring on the little veggie patch!
    Once again DF ,

  • elissa c 5 years ago

    This is making me so hungry for fresh veggies.

  • Toni Smith 5 years ago

    This idea is great. Love the toilet rolls.

  • Penny (Oh My Green) 5 years ago

    The toilet rolls is a GREAT idea! Am definitely trying this!

  • Allywan 5 years ago

    This is a great idea! It makes me want to start a garden at home.

  • Rebekah Beard 5 years ago


  • Rebekah Beard 5 years ago

    I LOVE THIS IDEA! This is such a practical way of showing our children how we can reduce and reuse any small old item even around the home! Recycling always starts somewhere… why not in the toilet!!

  • Rory 5 years ago

    such a great way of reusing before recycling! now all i need are some trays!

  • Naomi 5 years ago

    Brilliant! Going to steal the ridiculous t-p-roll pyramid that my housemate is building in the loo…

  • Jade 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing guys :) Just about to move to into the hills. Can’t wait to get started on my little veggie patch! I’m going to have so much fun!!

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