December 18th, 2015 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

You probably remember that every time I talk about sowing seed of sweet peas, I bash on about Rootrainers. So when I came across this video that the manufacturers have produced, I thought you’d like to see it. (They don’t sell Rootrainers direct to gardeners, but you can order them here.)

Over the years, I’ve found Rootrainers invaluable for raising two groups of plants from seed. Firstly, the Deep Rootrainers, which are 12.5cm/5in deep, are ideal for sweet peas, of course, and also other deep-rooted members of the pea and bean family including perennial sweet peas, runner beans, and climbing French beans (below), broad beans and lab lab beans. I’ve also used them for sweet corn.

Climbing beans getting a start in RootrainersDeep Rootrainers are also good for other vigorous annuals that produce a deep root, like sunflowers, for deep-rooted biennials including Miss Willmott’s Ghost, Eryngium giganteum, and for deep rooted perennials such as echinaceas but especially for hellebores. They’re useful for tree seedlings too.

Rapid Rootrainers are a smaller version, just 7.5cm/3in deep, and are ideal for starting lettuce plants, leeks and brassicas, and for those of us with limited space they can also be used for beetroot, carrots, and onions – in fact whenever you need a small number of almost any vegetable, starting them off in Rapid Rootrainers works well.

The only problems I’ve had have been with courgettes and cucumbers and squashes: they have such big leaves that there’s just not enough space.

The video shows you how to use Rootrainers but don’t forget that you can re-use them again and again so they’re great value. My first ones lasted for years.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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