Rapid (Shrub) Rootrainers

  • The Potty gardener sorting with Soft-Tie and spiders!

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    Thanks to the fearsome weather over the past few weeks any gardening time has been spent undercover in my garden shed, clearing, sorting and tidying. There were moments, with the full force of Storm Barney raging outside, when I feared a Wizard of Oz style take-off in the gale force winds. There were also moments when I feared a horror movie style savaging from the monster sized spiders crawling out from every dark corner of the shed. Thankfully, I have survived the storms and the spiders to tell the tale of the looking after Rootrainers, the marvels of Soft-tie and the cure for arachnophobia….

    Haxnicks Rootrainers stored in a Garden Shed

    I was busy stacking up a neat pile of the Rootrainers, that had so successfully nurtured my sweet peas earlier this year, when I heard some disapproving mutterings blowing in with the wind through the door….Grandpa Haxnicks had arrived to help. My neat stacks of Rootrainers, he told me, were all wrong. Apparently, stacking the propagation lids inside one another in direct sunlight can dramatically reduce their life span as, in warmer weather, heat can build up between the layers and warp the plastic. He also advised that I keep the black Rootrainer cells away from the direct sunlight of the shed window too. He says that I should look after my Rootrainers as I would look after biscuits…hmmmm….?  Unwrap, eat within 2 days and buy more? I think perhaps store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

    The next mess to tackle was the unruly pile of bamboo canes that had somehow been interwoven with the electric strimmer cable and some nylon strawberry netting and was resembling some form of giant primary school textile project designed to teach texture and uninhibited creativity.

    Original Woody Soft Tie from Haxnicks binding canes

    Grandpa Haxnicks’ answer to this mess….Soft-Tie! Small lengths of the bendy, stretchy garden tie can be tightly twisted to keep all manner of things in place. I still had to untangle the mess but hopefully now that all is secured such muddles will be a thing of the past.

    Slim Soft Tie from Haxnicks in Proper Use

    Haxnicks Slim Soft Tie used to hang up Garden Tools

    I won’t bore you with the rest of the clearing that went on, except to say that it was interspersed with involuntary screams as the largest, hairiest spiders in the whole of Dorset were uncovered. One particularly evil spider, that had clearly had enough of all the fuss I was making, decided to disappear up my sleeve whereupon I entered into a kind of possessed frenzy, removing layers of clothing, shaking my arms and, much to Grandpa Haxnicks’ amusement, tripping over the wheelbarrow. This complete loss of dignity, coupled with extreme exposure to spiders seems to have had a curative effect on my arachnophobia. I feel a lot less squeamish in their presence and, I hope in the future, a little more in control when under attack. If any spider dares to crawl up my sleeve again then he will find I have a trick up there to render him helpless…Soft-Tie. Perfect for keeping unruly things, such as 8 hairy legs, under control!

  • Lila Das Gupta - Using Rootrainers for Runner Beans

    It was only a small segment - but it meant a lot to us.  When we see our products in one of Britain's most popular and trusted Garden Magazines we do feel we must be getting something right.

    In the March Issue of BBC Gardeners World Magazine (also it's 20th Anniversary Edition), Haxnicks were mentions for Pots Naturally - our biodegradable pots, Victorian Bell Cloches (Helen Riches' article), Kitchen Garden Cloche (Pippa Greenwood's Growing Tips) and Rootrainers.

    The 'Step by Step' segment was about sowing Runner Beans and although you can usually just plant Runner Beans in ordinary pots, Lila recommended using Deep Rootrainers because these have the added benefit of encouraging the roots to grow downwards. We would note they also allow extremely easy planting out as the book like Rootrainers can be opened and the plug removed without damage to the roots - something that cannot be said for ordinary cell trays.

    Here is the article in full, click to enlarge, or read more of Lila Das Gupta's articles online.

    Haxnicks Garden Products in the Press

    Most Garden Centres stock Haxnicks Rootrainers and a we have a list of stockists available, alternatively you can buy online.  However, we appreciate your feedback - have Rootrainers helped you?  Do they make a difference?  Let us know and leave us a comment, and why not send a picture of your results - we have a seperate section for customer's photographs.

  • Compact Rootrainers - 2 'Best Buy' Awards in the same month

     

    Haxnicks in the Press
    Garden News 18th Jan 2011

     

    We are very proud to announce that our own Compact Rapid Rootrainers have been awarded 'Best Buy' awards in not one but two weekly gardening magazines, Garden News and Amateur Gardening.
    Garden News chose our Rootrainers because they were "Re-useable, rigid plastic containers.  Especially useful for plants that need deep root runs and dislike root disturbance."  Geoff Hodge, gardening expert and tried and tested journalist for the weekly publication awarded it 5 out of 5 for Use & handling, Watering, and Root growth.

     

    Haxnicks Rootrainers in the Press
    Amateur Gardening 29th January 2011

     

    "Opens like a book for easy inspection of moisture levels, root growth and removal of the plants...my Best Buy went to Rootrainers as they are re-useable."

     

    Compact Rapid Rootrainers come with a drip tray, propagating lid and have 20 cells in total.  To top it all off they are made in Great Britain, and as well as being re-usable, with a lifespan of approximately 6 years, they are also manufactured from recycled plastic.
    Amateur Gardening have always been fans of our Rootrainers. They regularly feature in gardening editor Kris Collins' weekly articles, in Anne Swithinbanks' column and have now been awarded 'Best Buy' by consumer editor Julia Heaton:
    "The shape and grooves promote optimum root formation.  Good way to raise bedding or cuttings as it makes handling the plants simpler. Those produced should be bigger and garden ready due to the larger root system."
    So why not see if the experts are right - try out our Compact Rapid Rootrainers and see for yourselves (quite literally) the quality of plant you can produce. Available as a deluxe version with a handy drip tray, perfect for windowsills.
    Amateur Gardening and Garden News are both priced £1.99 and available from newsagents and supermarkets every Tuesday.
  • Sowing Seeds in Autumn with Down to Earth author Madeliene Cardozo

    Sowing Seeds in Autumn with Down to Earth author Madeliene Cardozo

    Traditionally, broad beans must be sown before 5th November - Bonfire night - so you have a few weeks left to get ahead.  Last week, we watched our in-house author Madeleine Cardozo and her boys Orlando and Bruno sowing beans and sweet peas in Haxnicks' Rootrainers™. The broad beans have already started sprouting in the cold frame, so we are already well on the way.

    If you haven't already seen Madeleine's new book 'Down to Earth' do take a look, it is available to buy through the website.  In the meantime please enjoy this video.

    Love to grow? Stay tuned to www.youtube.com/haxnicks!

  • Growing Tomatoes - Make it a New Year Resolution

    Growing Tomatoes with Haxnicks Tomato Patio PlanterThe snow is fresh and the climate unseasonally cold. We should be promoting Frost protection and ideas to keep your plants and seedlings warm... But let's look at a more cheery topic.

    The tomato is a delicate or tender perennial which is grown as an annual and when raised in your greenhouse is very successful.

    One of the best reasons for growing your own tomatoes is that you can be sure that they are chemical spray free as well as the fact that a greenhouse tomato tastes far better than any supermarket product, firstly because it is picked and eaten immediately while it is warm (refrigerated tomatoes become bland in taste and secondly the flavour is better because it does not have to travel – something a tomato does not like.

    There are over 3 000 tomato varieties to choose from and you should ensure that you grow several different varieties which will not only add interest but also ensure against an inferior crop from one variety. I have listed a few that you might like to try - “Gardener’s Delight” is probably the best variety for flavour, yield, early results and easy growing. One of the best cherry varieties is “Sweet 100” and if you want a small yellow tomato then go for “Sunbelle”. “Shirley” is a good red normal size tomato variety which is disease resistant and “Big Boy” is a large red, beefsteak tomato with very few seeds which is ideal for cooking. “Brandy Wine”, another beefsteak variety has an amazing flavour.

    Tomato plants can be bought at garden centres but many people prefer the satisfaction and taste that you get with growing your own. Plants that have been on display for any length of time become affected by too much heat and little or no light. It is much more rewarding to raise your own from seed. Remember that if you are going to raise 3 or 4 different varieties deep modular, hinged opening cell trays like Rootrainers are extremely useful as they are both space and time saving.

    Tomato seed is sown in a propagator and a temperature of 60°- 65°F is needed for successful germination. If you have a heated greenhouse seed can be sown in late December for planting out in late February or early March for a May/June crop. Most gardeners only have cold houses and then seed should be sown in a propagator in early March and planted out late April for a July crop.

    1. Fill the Rootrainers with the peat free compost
    2. Sow the seeds in late February for an early crop and 4 weeks later for the main crop
    3. Cover the Rootrainer tray with the clear propagating lid and leave in a warm area till seeds have germinated
    4. Remove lid and use under tray as water catcher once plants get tall

    There is no need to prick out plants until you are ready to plant them in their fruiting positions. We offer two types of Patio Planters especially designed for Tomatoes and also offer a Cane Support Planter - New in 2010.

    Soft-tie is the ultimate garden tie for delicate plants like Tomatoes and can be reused again and again.

    Feed once a week with a weak solution of liquid feed. You stand a better chance keeping Tomatoes in a Greenhouse or why not make use of the New Haxnicks Grower System a Garden Tunnel designed for taller plants.

    Pick your Tomatoes when they are just turning red and as a tip if it appears that your tomatoes are never going to ripen, pick them and place them in a dark place with a single red tomato. The other will soon get the message.

  • Growing Cuttings

    Growing Cuttings with HaxnicksRootrainers – Perfect for Cuttings
    Almost anything can be grown from a cutting. It is also an easy and cheap way to obtain more plants. It is also an excellent way to keep your half-hardy perennials from year to year. Rootrainers excel with cuttings of all types.

    Preparation
    With cuttings, good preparation is essential. In particular the seed tray, compost mix and the moisture are vital.

    In late summer, take a few cuttings from your container plants, hanging basket plants and half-hardy border plants and root them in the greenhouse and then pot them up.

    No Re-Potting with Rootrainers
    Cuttings love a lot of side – that is why most cuttings are initially placed around the side of a large pot, or in very small pots, to be re-potted later. But, re-potting requires skilled timing, and will cause root disturbance.

    Rootrainers are small pots, with a massive amount of side. But, unlike small pots they have depth and don’t become pot-bound, so timing ceases to be critical and there is no re-potting.

    Quick Growth
    Try any nodal, stem, leaf or root cutting for success. The encouragement of quick root growth and natural air pruning achieved by Rootrainers will create a marvellous root plug. Some cuttings can be ready and planted up within a very short space of time, but others can be left in over winter and even longer if you want to grow semi-standards.

    Compost MixUsing Haxnicks Rootrainers to grow Cuttings
    (This mix is sufficient for two trays of the 3”/8cm Rootrainer seed trays - typically an ideal pot size for cuttings)

    Using a 12cm pot, mix:

    • 8 pots of multi-purpose compost;
    • 3 pots of perlite or vermiculite; and
    • ½ pot of grit or sand (for free drainage).

    Mix all the components together well. Fill the trays as you would for seed sowing, making sure the compost comes level with the top of each cell.

    Cell Size
    Most cuttings will prefer the 8cm Rapid (Shrub) size - it is ideal for geraniums, fuchsias, marguerites, chrysanthemums, lavenders and shrubs.

    They can be grown in the longer 12cm Deep (Sherwood) size, but it is generally desirable to get the air-pruning in earlier to encourage new root growth at the first opportunity, and this will occur more quickly in the 8cm size.

    It should also be noted if you are going to place your cutting later in a house pot or a hanging basket, it may not be desirable to have a longer root system.

    The 12cm Deep (Sherwood) size is excellent for hardwood cuttings, soft-fruits, clematis nodal cuttings or oriental poppy root cuttings and similar plants. The longer cell is excellent for retaining semi-standards grown from fuchsia cuttings etc, where they can be held in a Rootrainers for well over a year.

    Many cuttings can be placed in either size according to individual preferences and circumstances, but in all instances success with cuttings will be easier, difficulties fewer, handling will be less, compost and space will be saved, and the plants will be stronger if you use Rootrainers.

    Watering - Preparing your Seed Trays for CuttingsPlanting seeds in Haxnicks Rootrainers
    Before planting your cuttings give the seed trays a good soaking using a watering can.

    Leave the seed trays with their plastic lids on to conserve water while you select your cuttings.

    Hardy cuttings need to be placed in a sheltered position away from full sun – ideally in a cold frame. Put them somewhere handy so that they can be looked at daily. If the leaves of the cuttings look a little wilted then, using a water sprayer, you can give them a light spray.

    On-Going Watering During Propagation
    With Rootrainers, it is easy to check moisture levels and how the roots are doing. Just open the ‘book’, check and re-close. But - a little hint! Don’t open them until the plant is reasonably established and the roots have hit the side; otherwise you may just be pulling the soil away from the roots and weakening the strength of the plug.

    Rootrainers packs come with a clear plastic propagating-lid, which sits on top of the tray and retains the moisture and warmth. This can be easily removed and replaced for watering, and provides the ideal growing environment for most cuttings - but do not use the lid for geraniums and other plants that do not like humidity.

    When plants have developed sufficiently, the lid can be placed under the tray for capillary watering if desired, and for clean handling – ideal if you are keeping or over-wintering plants indoors.

  • Top Tips for Using Rootrainers

    Rootrainers are so easy to use and make seed sowing a pleasure. Here is a whole host of Top Tips, to get the most out of growing with Rootrainers.

    The Five Inch Rule
    If you prepare the ground well and place in plants with a five-inch deep mature root system, little should go wrong. Plants suffer no check and are deep enough to withstand most vagaries of weather.

    Rooting Cuttings
    Rootrainers are ideal for cuttings. Take your cuttings, dip into rooting powder and just insert in a cell.

    For Large Seeds
    When planting large seeds, such as beans, gently press the seed down into compost with your finger.

    Large Leafed Plants
    If using Rootrainers seed trays with large leafy plants use every other cell or use the Compact Rapid, which has been specially designed for this purpose.

    Fragile Plants
    Rootrainers are ideal for fragile plants, such as sweet peas.

    Emerging Seedlings
    As soon as seeds begin to emerge from the soil, remove lid or take trays out of the propagator. The Rootrainers lid cleverly becomes the drip tray.

    Small Seeds
    Small seeds can be first sown in seed trays and then pricked out into Rootrainers.

    White Fly
    One brassica grower claimed he had never suffered from white fly since he had used Rootrainers.

    Under Bench Heating
    Under bench heating will promote even quicker root growth, without inhibiting top growth.

    Cuttings and Pot Size
    Most cuttings benefit from a shorter pot to encourage early air pruning of the root system.

    Watering
    Remember that as the season warms up you will need to water your plants and seedlings thoroughly to prevent drying out.

    Stem Cuttings
    Stem cuttings can be taken all year round but do best in Spring and Summer. If you use The Rooterpot you can be sure of success in ONE season.

    Planting Out Plug Plants
    Remember when planting out plug plants to make sure that the top of the soil plug is completely covered to allow the plant to seat.

    Water
    Water collected from a water butt should not be used to water seedlings. Use tap water which has stood for a couple of hours to allow the chlorine to disappear.

    Houseplants Love Aquarium Water!
    Don't throw the water from your aquarium away, keep it in bottles for your houseplants and watch them flourish.

    Lilies And Tulips
    Lilies and Tulips should never be planted together because they suffer from the same diseases.

    Planting Tulips
    Tulips should not be planted in the same spot for 2 consecutive years, but if African Marigolds are planted where the tulips have flowered there will be no problem in using the same spot again.

    Azaleas
    Azaleas like acidic soil and it is a good idea to water them once in a while with a mix of 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 2 pints of water.

    If you have any tips that you'd like to share please add to the list below: Drop us a comment.

  • Which Rootrainer? - What Size Cell To Use

    Haxnicks Rootrainers
    How deep? That is the question.

    Before the appearance of Rootrainers, growers had little opportunity to experiment and compare the merits of different depths of plant pots and in many cases they chose to downsize.

    Air pruning of the root (the process whereby roots stop growing downwards when they meet air) occurs more quickly with a smaller pot. This process is not dissimilar to normal pruning that produces a bushier plant. In the case of roots, the air pruning encourages lateral growth and thus develops a stronger root system.

    Some growers claim the quicker a plant is in its final growing habitat, the better. Plant too deep and the roots may be below the best top soil and be inhibited by poorer soil. There may also be a better balance between root development and top growth.

    However, deep plants may be stronger and more mature, more resistant to disease and environmental changes. Under-bench heating will promote even quicker root growth, without plants having their top growth inhibited.

    Deep pots enable growers to plant out earlier and to take advantage of well prepared beds, and good top soil. Growers will find they have different answers and Rootrainers can meet these different needs.

    Basically, fast growing root structures, which is true of most vegetables grown in deeply well prepared beds, prefer deep pots, particularly for early growers. Plants that have to over-winter, like perennials may also benefit from deep pots. But annuals that go out after the frosts, into warm, shallow flower beds, and plants required for pots and hanging baskets require a shorter pot.

    Most cuttings benefit from a shorter pot to encourage early air pruning; likewise, plants with slow root growth. Some such plants may need to be deeper before they go on out. They can be started in deeper pots and left, or they can be started in smaller pots for early strength and potted on into larger pots if required. This is a particularly easy process with Rootrainers because the pots are identical apart from the depth, meaning that the plant is not disturbed at all.

    The ultimate choice is in the hand of the grower which is perhaps what makes plant growing so interesting.

    With Rootrainers, instead of "pots" we talk about "cells", where each cell grows a single plant. The shape of the cells is designed to generate a far stronger root system than conventional plant pots. However the choice of size is no different whether you are dealing with a Rootrainer cell or any other plant pot.

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