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  • Alternative root trainers

    Hi all, not posted for a while but been popping in now and again. Hoping all are OK and escaping the dreaded C19 and all hybrids.

    Just wanted to see if anyone has had the same problems as me with using bathroom stationery middles as root trainers? Always started my peas off in them until about 3 years ago when germination hit rock bottom. My daughter has had the same problem and we decided to try experimenting with different makes (she uses the posh ones, Cushelle, Andrex, Velvet and such) mine are usually Tesco or Waitrose.

    The panic buying last year meant we had to improvise so we tried several other brands but with very little, or no, success. Is anyone else having this problem?

    Is it possible that the manufacturers started using recycled paper with additives 3 years ago? Have they changed the way they make the middles? With so few distractions this last year (still under 'house arrest' until the second jab) I find these questions niggling at me. Not to mention the loss of a cheap source of seed starter pots. Does anyone use these with any success?
    East Berkshire

    There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

  • #2
    The toilet roll tubes I sowed my sweet peas in a couple of weeks ago were all Tesco or Lidl. Germination has been good in both types.

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    • #3
      That is encouraging Purple Primrose maybe I should try the Tesco tubes one more time. I am a bit limited for shopping choices as I have been nowhere for nearly a year and rely on family and neighbours. I will request more Tesco tubes and give it another go. Thank you for replying.
      East Berkshire

      There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

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      • #4
        If you’ve got an old newspaper you can fold it over & wrap it round a tin & fold the top bit over so it stays in place,to make pots. There’s videos on the internet with how to make them better than I just explained I used cardboard tubes once but they went mouldy after a while,I sowed too early in them & they were in the house so long,started rotting,I’d want to plant them out before that happens
        Location : Essex

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        • #5
          It is a fine line between keeping them moist and letting them disintegrate as you say Jungle Jane but they are very handy, cheap and if you get the timing right they disintegrate in the ground. That is always supposing you can get them to germinate the seeds in the first place

          It is many years since I had access to newspapers and we no longer get the weekly freebies here either. Might be able to get some from my daughter, she works in a boarding school and they get all the broadsheets. She has supplied me in the past for papier mache making. I will look at the Internet but I used to make something similar by moulding the paper between two nesting beakers. I stopped using newspapers for seeds when they changed the printing process and I was suspicious of the ink.

          Do you not think I would have the same issues with disintegration using newspaper?
          East Berkshire

          There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

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          • #6
            I've never had a lot of luck using loo roll middles either, I'm still using plastic ones at the moment, but when they come to the end of their lifespan, I shall have to find a non plastic alternative
            If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.
            Gardening in the NE of Scotland

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            • #7
              If it’s timed right they shouldn’t disintegrate,I wouldn’t want them indoors that long,have them outside in a greenhouse or blowaway if it’s too cold for planting.
              Location : Essex

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              • #8
                Time to experiment I think I shall try 6 in Tesco tubes and 6 in newspaper (whenever I can get some) and 6 in a.n.other tube. Results will be published whatever the outcome.

                I wonder if the pea variety makes any difference? I always grow Hurst Greenshaft, always have, maybe it's time to try another variety as well. If I can get any in this mad COVID world. The advantage of the Hurst peas is that I save them each year so no supply problem.
                East Berkshire

                There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've made newspaper pots and found them very good. They sometimes disintegrate but if the soil is cupped in the hand, the seeds transplant very well, as they usually have enough roots to hold the soil together. Apparently, it's a good idea not to leave any newspaper protruding above ground when transplanting, as it dries out, drying the rest of the 'pot' and any compost too. I prefer newspaper pots to cardboard precisely because they disintegrate more readily than cardboard in the ground.

                  Maybe not so good for things that take a long time to germinate, but I've used them for parsnips. Hard for me to be sure how badly the parsnips were affected by being transplanted, as I grow half-long ones (Guernsey). But any parsnip is better than no parsnip.
                  Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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                  • #10
                    Do you think I am wrong to be suspicious of the ink on newspapers Snoop Puss ? Have you germinated peas in newspaper at all? I have to grow shed loads of them because only about half make it to the freezer after I shell them - shellers perks

                    My peas take about three weeks to get going which should be OK I think.
                    East Berkshire

                    There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

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                    • #11
                      I’ve always used Cushelle loo rolls for my beans and sweet peas then newspaper pots for lettuce, basil and other small seeds. Can’t say I’ve ever had a problem with either, they don’t like being to wet though.
                      Location....East Midlands.

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                      • #12
                        Have you tried just sowing peas in a length of guttering? That's what I do, and you end up with a ready made row, which you can just slide into a shallow trench.

                        Originally posted by NannyGreen View Post
                        Do you think I am wrong to be suspicious of the ink on newspapers Snoop Puss ? Have you germinated peas in newspaper at all?.
                        Modern newspaper ink is all vegetable based (soya, mainly). It's harmless.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NannyGreen View Post
                          Do you think I am wrong to be suspicious of the ink on newspapers Snoop Puss ? Have you germinated peas in newspaper at all? I have to grow shed loads of them because only about half make it to the freezer after I shell them - shellers perks

                          My peas take about three weeks to get going which should be OK I think.
                          Yes, agree with ameno. Modern inks are soya-based so I'd say acceptable. This is true of colour inks too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_ink

                          Three weeks to get going, and then how long before you plant out?

                          I've never sown peas in paper pots. You'd need absolutely loads of pots if you grow shed loads...

                          Nice to see you back, by the way. Really missed reading your posts. Hope you're doing well.

                          Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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                          • #14
                            Thank you Snoop Puss that was a lovely thing to say, I have snuck in and read your posts in the meantime.

                            I usually save all my bathroom stationery middles so generally do have loads, after they come through I play Hokey Cokey with the greenhouse (unheated) for a few weeks and then plant them out (mid-end April) under plastic pop bottles. They act as a mini cloche and keep the slugs off. I also plant directly in the ground beginning of May - same deal with pop bottles covering them.

                            Well Bren In Pots you are another posh Cushelle user I will tell my daughter in case she can get a few to germinate in her 'posh pots' but she only grows a few to keep my grandson happy and stop him picking her other veg.

                            ​​​​​​​Thank you for the info on newspaper ink ameno that makes me feel a bit more confident. I have used guttering for carrots and parsnips before but I don't grow the peas in rows so not really practical. I have them planted all round the climbing beans with a few nasturtiums and marigolds to make the bed look a bit fancy.

                            Still trying to create an Ornamental Kitchen Garden as demonstrated by my hero Geoff Hamilton.
                            ​​​​​​​
                            East Berkshire

                            There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

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                            • #15
                              That sounds like a lovely way to grow them, NG. Pea flowers aren't as dramatic as sweet peas, but still very pretty. My veg patch is a bit regimented, sadly, for ease of watering.

                              How about an experiment? Some in cardboard tubes and some in paper pots?
                              Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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