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Rootrainer substitute?

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Vinlander:
I need to make tall narrow pots that can produce a tight matrix of seedlings in Feb to fit heated trays under LEDs.

I still use beercan Alu (free once you've bought the 7% contents) to make 35x35x90mm 'tallboys' but I was looking for something tighter, easier, quicker and less lacerating.

It occurred to me that fitting clip-top trunking in my sunroom was quite expensive but a 2m length could make 20+ tallboys with sides that would slide out nicely.

The 16x16mm is probably too fiddly but the 25x16mm is exactly right @ 1.68 per 2m.

I may even invest later in the larger size of 38x38mm (sadly not available from Screwfix) because it works out a similar price to the equivalent Rootrainers and similar P&P (if you don't have a big DIY nearby) Oh, and it's about, say, 1000 times more durable?

You have to find a way to stop the soil falling out and let the moisture in from below (capillary matting). I use several methods and haven't settled on one yet.

You can buy a bit of 2-3mm Alu mesh pretty cheaply to make springy shallow U's to fit in the bottom. Expanded metal is good, I have a very similar-looking green plastic equivalent called "shade mesh" that's just stiff & springy enough (though I haven't seen it available lately). Metal lathing is good but don't blame me if it slashes your fingers.

Bits of green kitchen scourers are usable if you pack the compost a bit to push the U against the sides - or you could put something across the bottom to hold in whatever you use.

I've just started using this method so if anyone else has tried it your experience would be useful.

Cheers.

Tee Gee:

--- Quote ---You have to find a way to stop the soil falling out and let the moisture in from below (capillary matting). I use several methods and haven't settled on one yet.
--- End quote ---

Have you considered Oasis foam?

You could push the trunking/ tubing into it like a cake cutter into dough and this would create a moisture retaining plug that would hold in the compost a suck up moisture from you capillary matting.

InfraDig:
Sorry, a dumb question! What makes a rootrainer a rootrainer and not a pot? I have been considering using Benecol type tubes, but really am not sure whether I should have slits in the sides, or bottom. Hence the question!!

Thanks.

Tee Gee:

--- Quote ---What makes a rootrainer a rootrainer and not a pot?
--- End quote ---

I don't really know myself but I look upon root trainers as the 'flat pack' of the gardening fraternity.

That is they come flat, are connected together to form a container then dismantled after use!

Although I have some I do not particularly like them because of their flimsy connecting system particularly after they have been used a few times.

Then I find if I do not use the full complement of sections in the carrier frame they are quite unstable.

I am keeping a watchful eye on Vins suggestion as I think he might be on to a good cheap alternative.

InfraDig:
Is it a hole in the bottom that makes the difference? Does it need holes or maybe grooves in the side? Is it like an airpot?

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