Gardening (and living) between the stumps. Anything is possible.

Deep Roots Make Healthier Plants

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These new seed-starting trays I bought are amazing. I wanted deeper starting cells for my tomato seedlings in particular, so I decided to try these deep root planters.  I do try to minimize my garden gadget purchases, but when you start seeds inside, you have to begin with something. So I’ve tried everything from a basic plastic tray to various versions of the insulated cells and individual pots with the wicking mat that promises even, effortless watering. This one beats them all.

It seems simple enough. It’s a black plastic tray, divided into cells like any other, with the standard fairly useless but attractive clear dome cover. The only real difference is that the cells are much deeper: more soil, more room for root development. I filled the cells with soil mix and poked the seeds in just like I always do, and then I waited.

Every year except this one, about four weeks after seeding, I transplant out of the little cells into larger pots, three or four inches in diameter. The main reason is that the cells are too shallow; most of the seedlings need to be buried a little deeper, or they just run out of nutrition. This year, I didn’t have the time–and eight weeks later, those little plants are strong and healthy. A little leggy, perhaps, because they’re still inside, but healthy. This is unprecedented.

It’s possible that these black plastic growing trays only seem miraculous beside the toilet paper tube fiasco, but I think it’s something more: I think the shape of the cells and the extra room for roots makes a difference. No more complicated insulated wicking systems–from now on, it’s deep roots for me.

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