Root trainers is a proprietry brand module system that encourages good downward root growth. The sides are grooved and there is a hole at the bottom so you can see how far downward growth has progressed. Also, when the roots reach the bottom and go through the hole, they are 'air pruned', ie they stop growing in the drier environment, and this encourages secondary roots, making the plant stronger for planting out. The cells open like a book and you ease out the whole package into the planting hole. Look at the lovely root system on my first batch of peas!
I love my peasticks too. They came from a Surrey coppicer last spring, together with some birch bean poles. Once planted they got a light sprinkling of organic slug pellets. I don't think any slugs have overwintered (not even found any in the compost bin) but the eggs will be hatching and its too cold just yet to be putting out nemaslug, an effective biological control.
Root trainers are quite expensive, but you can easily re-use them lots of times if you are careful. In addition, they are made of recycled plastic. Many people say cardboard toilet roll is a good alternative. However, you do not know what chemicals were in the pulp or what glue has been used. In addition, you don't get the air pruning effect as the rolls and compost have to sit with their bottoms in a damp tray. Lastly, the cardboard is prone to going mouldy.
The right kind of quality sticks, compost and tools really are more exciting than new shoes.
I'm a grower, gardener and qualified designer living and working in South London. I teach horticulture at Capel Manor College, at their site in Regent's Park, and I coordinate the volunteers of Garden Organic's South London Master Gardener programme.
Please visit my business website to find out about how the garden design and horticulture training services I offer - vivekagardens.com
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