By Juliet Matthews
Save TetraPak cartons – those icky cartons we all (I think all / most of us) buy because it’s hard not to…
Give them a few more lives by using as root-trainer/ deep seed trays.
Cut round one side with Stanley Knife and take off the screw-top lid. Make sure to stand them in something watertight – and put the hole where the lid was at the bottom as when you water it will seep out onto whatever you stand it on. This hole is usually enough drainage but I sometimes make a few cross cuts in the bottom too.
Fill with coir or seed compost and I put about 10 broad beans or peas, snap peas, sweet peas etc – anything a mouse likes – into each one. I have to keep them indoors until they are ready to plant out as I have a resident mouse in the greenhouse who is wise to my planting schedule & partial to broad beans/peas even once plants are up.
When you want to transplant, take your Stanley Knife with you to the allotment/ veg patch and make a shallow trench where you want your row to be. Line up the TetraPak cartons and slice (not too deeply to avoid roots) down both ends of one long side. Open it like a door and tip the plants gently into the trench. They will be lying down slightly on an angle which doesn’t seem to matter at all. Push the soil gently over the roots and water in as usual. They will be upright and growing away asap. Minimal root disturbance and re-use for the carton. Also makes for stronger plants to put up with slug munching. I dry my cartons off and tape the side up and re-use next year – even easier to get plants out as only a bit of tape to cut the second time round. I use this for all sorts of plants that need a bit of a head start.