Root trainers

This topic contains 11 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Sadhya 2 years, 7 months ago.

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    Last year at Charles’s suggestion I started beetroot and pak choi in modules, with considerable success. However the trays were very flimsy and small. So I bought some rootrainers, the kind that split open, the quality is awful, the thinnest plastic imaginable. This year I bought some larger root trainers fron nutleys. Has anyone tried these? They seem quite decent. I do wonder if carrots could be started in them, though I am not sure why. I tried some carrots in the rootrainers, they grew but were small.


    Don Foley

    Hi Leif,

    Carrots and Parsnip should be sown direct rather than in module trays or root trainers as they do not like root disturbance.
    A great alternative I have tried in the past, is to sow into toilet rolls and then plant out seedlings and rolls into their final positions. The only problem with this method is getting enough rolls.


    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  Don Foley.


    Hello Dan, yes I know carrots and parsnips, and other long rooted vegetables, do not like being transplanted, the large root trainers are much larger, so I may try. The carrots will be transplanted once a decent root system has established, and bound togther the soil. I’m not convinced it iis worth it except perhaps for some early ones raised initially in a coldframe, and not in my cold clay soil.



    Hi Leif,
    I cannot sow anything directly as the slugs demolish anything small and new. Therefore, I start carrots and parsnips in guttering, if one takes care to slide them into their final growing spot before they get too big they do absolutely fine.



    Hi Leif. I’ve bought the Haxnicks deep rootrainers and find them great for seed such as beans and peas. Easy to fill and I’ve had no trouble extracting plants once ready to go out. Should last many years too. Not sure I’d bother with carrots and parsnips in them but, if you have mollusc issues like Hawfinch, I wouldn’t rule the idea out.

    Nearly time to step up to the start line here in N.Yorks 🙂




    I started using modules last year like you and I successfully used them for:

    Kale, Rocket, Spinach, Pak Choi, Chard (over-wintered and summer); Lettuce;
    Beetroot (clumps); Onions (singles and clumps); Shallot (singles);
    Pea (maincrop); Mange Tout; Runner Bean; Climbing Bean;
    Autumn Cabbage; Brussels Sprout; Spring Cabbage; Swede;

    If you wanted to do carrot or parsnip, have you thought of using a 35 litre pot? I normally use them for growing potatoes or tomatoes, but they would easily be deep enough for you to be able to extract seedlings prior to them getting too big. I’ve successfully transplanted young carrots from rows where uneven germination took place, so I suspect that transplantation per se isn’t the issue, more root forking.

    If you had soil deep enough like in a 35 litre pot, perhaps that wouldn’t be an issue either? I guess ultimately it depends on how many you want to transplant……



    Parsnips certainly do transplant ok. Neighbors on the allotments regularly transplant the thinning a and so long as they are kept moist they do surprisingly well.
    Waste not want not and all that!



    Thanks all, lots of useful information there. I use slug pellets, the non organic kind, I know they are frowned upon, but the organic ones dissolve too quickly, and from what I can tell if you spread them thinly, they are not a danger to wildlife. Also, I have found that a coldframe helps keep out slugs, hence raising seedlings in modules in a coldframe protects them from birds, frost, and slugs.

    Does anyone start leeks in root trainers, or small pots, if so how many per pot? I normally sow leeks direct, they grow well, and require almost no care.



    I have used toilet roll holders for years , and more so now I am a no dig fan ,I ask my friends and
    neighbours to collect them. I also collect kitchen towel holders cut them into three and use them
    for my beetroot .



    Hi Leif

    Last yearI bought the Nutleys 12cm deep root trainers from Amazon and used them to grow some sweet peas. They survived their first year intact and I had no problems using them.

    Does anyone have experience of using them for broad beans? Will they be deep enough?
    What depth should they be sown in 12cm root trainers?


    (That’s 4 and a quarter inches…)



    For broad beans I use 3inch (7.5cm) deep trays and they transplant fine, the tap root a little squashed in there but growth is good after planting.



    I use deep pots (Long Toms I think they are called) for broad beans, French beans, peas and sweet peas. The depth – 7 ” allows for good long root growth. I cover the moist surface of the compost with the beans/peas which have been soaked over night so there are about 12 to 15 to a pot. The trick is to catch them for transplanting before the longroots have knitted themselves together. I then dib them into the earth. Always successful and saves a huge amount of space in my limited starting off area.

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