To start with, I used 3″ round plastic pots.
That’s what you do when you get an allotment or start gardening, isn’t it? After all, you can buy them in B&Q, Poundland, Homebase — anywhere!
Well, I’ve been trying out a better way…
The method is simple – use pots that cost nothing, are biodegradable and are easily sourced. Home made paper pots or cardboard toilet roll tubes are the way forward for me.
Paper pots are a little hassle, but its still fairly easy to put together a large number in double-quick time. Simply take a sheet of your paper of choice – I go with rescued A4 from the recycle bin at work, but newspaper will work just as well – and roll around a cylinder such as a deodorant, leaving and inch or so at one end. I simply then staple the cylinder together and fold the 1″ excess to create a bottom to the pot.
You can also go with cardboard tubes. These are great, of course, because they’re free and would be binned, and are no hassle to source – just stop throwing them away and before you know it (over the winter), you will have quite a few stored!
The trick with this method, of course, is to fill them with compost, sow your seeds as normal and plant out the whole container once the time is right. The paper or cardboard simply rots away, leaving your plants to crack on and get growing! This is great for parsnips, sweetcorn and the like; which we are always taught to wrap in cotton wool and not disturb their roots.
The reason I was prompted to promote this method is that I’ve been harvesting my parsnips – and they’re brilliant!
The lack of root disturbance is really working for the pasnips, letting them put on a really good foot of growth before any forking, on most cases a lot more.
The two ‘snips below were Gladiator, sowed two to a pot, and they simply both shot straight down, pushing their neighbour away as they swelled.