Every year I try out new tools, gloves, gadgets and accessories. Some are a waste of time, (I had several pairs of gloves this year that lasted less than a week!) Some I rave about to all who listen (Anyone not heard me mention Felco Secateurs & Goat socks) and some I'm not sure about and need some persuading to use.
One that falls into the last category, and that i'm now going to put in the rave section are root trainers.
I'd heard Sarah Raven rave about these on a vegetable course that I went on 3 years ago, - and so i'd bought one. at £8.99 I wasn't convinced that they did that much more than deep pots, or toilet rolls, but as i'd paid so much for them i've used them each season, - mostly for peas and broad beans, - getting good results, but then broad beans are something that I usually have success with, even if just direct sown into the ground, so it wasn't a real test. - However this winter, they've really come into their own.
After being fed up of not having Sweet peas until the week after our Garden Society's Summer Show, I decided to sow these in October this year. I sowed 2 seed into each module of sieved peat free compost in the middle of October and was delighted with the germination rates. - i've then pinched them back when 3 leaf pairs were showing. When I spotted roots escaping from the bottom during my weekly slug hunt, I decided to pot them up to the next size pot, to get them large enough to plant out in March.
No need to worry that the roots won't have developed by then tho', - look at the healthy root system on this plant
So yes,- not a cheap option when it comes to cell trays, but if you want healthy deep rooted Sweet peas, Root Trainers are worth looking into.