Author Topic: Rootrainer substitute?  (Read 13880 times)


  • Hectare
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  • Posts: 1,713
  • North London - heavy but fertile clay
Rootrainer substitute?
« on: February 08, 2016, 15:02:43 »
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.

With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

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