Maxi Rootrainers from Haxnicks

For the last few years I have used Deep Rootrainers to grow the sweet pea plants for my Sweet Pea Trials.  I had been happy with the results that I had achieved using Deep Rootrainers from Haxnicks, but last year I decided to trial Deep Rootrainers against Maxi Rootrainers, which are also available from Haxnicks, to discover if using a larger sized, deeper Rootrainer would be beneficial for my sweet pea plants.

Lathyrus odoratus ‘White Frills’ pictured during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.
Sweet Pea flowers grown for my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.

Sweet Pea Trial 2017

I chose four sowing dates for my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.  At each sowing the same number of seeds were sown, of the same sweet pea cultivars, all of which were purchased from Roger Parsons.  The seeds were sown into a compost blend, which was predominantly comprised of Dalefoot Composts Wool Potting Compost.  I then recorded every sweet pea flower that was picked, right from the very first two flowers that opened in May 2017, until flower production slowed down and the trial ended in October 2017.  Here are the results of my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial:

Total number of flowers by Rootrainer:

  • The total number of flowers produced by the sweet pea plants that were sown in the Maxi Rootrainers was 2,247 flowers.
  • The total number of flowers produced by the sweet pea plants that were sown in the Deep Rootrainers was 1,424 flowers.
This chart shows the total number of flowers that were harvested during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial, divided by the seed tray the seeds were originally sown into. As you can see, the sweet pea plants that were sown in the Maxi Rootrainers produced a greater number of flowers than the sweet pea plants that were sown into Deep Rootrainers.
These sweet pea seedlings were grown in Maxi Rootrainers for my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.
These sweet pea seedlings were grown in Deep Rootrainers, which are held in the Rootrainers Racking Station. Pictured on the 30th December 2016. All of the sweet pea plants grown for my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial were grown in Dalefoot Composts.
Lathyrus odoratus ‘Grandma Butt’, pictured during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.

Which sweet pea cultivars favoured Maxi Rootrainers?

For the following sweet pea cultivars, the sweet pea plants that were sown in the Maxi Rootrainers produced more flowers, overtaking the plants of the same cultivar, that were sown at the same time in the Deep Rootrainers:

  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Alison Valentini’ (Maxi: 504, Deep: 226)
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Betty Maiden’ (Maxi: 489, Deep: 196)
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Naomi Nazareth’ (Maxi: 299, Deep: 288)
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Grandma Butt’ (Maxi: 318, Deep: 153)
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Queen of Hearts’ (Maxi: 302, Deep: 79)
Cordon trained Lathyrus odoratus ‘Alison Valentini’ plants, pictured during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.

For the following sweet pea cultivars, the plants that were sown in the Deep Rootrainers produced more flowers, overtaking the plants of the same cultivar, sown at the same time, that were sown in the Maxi Rootrainers:

  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Joyce Stanton’ (Maxi: 152, Deep: 237)
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘White Frills’ (Maxi: 101, Deep: 159)
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Marjorie Carrier’ (Maxi: 82, Deep: 86)
This chart shows the total number of flowers picked for each sweet pea cultivar grown for my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial. I have split the total harvest for each cultivar, so that you can see how many flowers were harvested from the sweet pea plants that were started in Deep Rootrainers as opposed to the sweet pea plants that were originally sown in Maxi Rootrainers. As you can see, for most cultivars, more flowers were produced by the sweet pea plants grown in Maxi Rootrainers, the exceptions being Lathyrus odoratus ‘Joyce Stanton’, Lathyrus odoratus ‘White Frills’, and Lathyrus odoratus ‘Marjorie Carrier’. Lathyrus odoratus ‘Alison Valentini’ produced the most flowers during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial – 730 flowers – whereas Lathyrus odoratus ‘Marjorie Carrier’ produced the least – 168 flowers.
Lathyrus odoratus ‘Queen of Hearts’ pictured during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.

Flowering stem length by Rootrainer:

The average flowering stem length produced by the sweet pea plants that were sown in the Maxi Rootrainers was 19.2cm (7.6″), compared to 18.8cm (7.4″), which was the average flowering stem length produced by the plants that were sown in the Deep Rootrainers.  So there was just a small difference in the plants’ average flowering stem lengths between the sweet pea plants that were sown in Maxi Rootrainers and those grown in Deep Rootrainers.

This chart shows the overall sweet pea flowering stem length (max and average) produced by plants grown in Deep Rootrainers and Maxi Rootrainers. Although the sweet pea plants grown in Maxi Rootrainers produced longer flowering stems, there wasn’t a huge difference in the flowering stem lengths, so my conclusion is that sweet pea plants grown in Maxi Rootrainers don’t produce significantly longer flowering stems than sweet pea plants grown in Deep Rootrainers.
A cordon trained Lathyrus odoratus ‘Naomi Nazareth’ plant, pictured during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.

Total flowers split by Rootrainer:

The sweet pea plants that were sown in the Maxi Rootrainers flowered earlier than the sweet pea plants that were sown in the Deep Rootrainers, they also flowered for longer, as you can see in the results, which are displayed in the chart below.

This chart shows the total number of flowers over time, split by the Rootrainer that the sweet pea plants were sown in. The Maxi Rootrainer grown sweet pea plants produced more flowers, and these plants flowered earlier than the deep Rootrainer grown sweet pea plants. The Maxi Rootrainer grown sweet pea plants outperform the Deep Rootrainer grown sweet pea plants consistently throughout the trial – with a longer flowering period too.
A cordon trained Lathyrus odoratus ‘Marjorie Carrier’ plant, pictured during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.

Maxi Rootrainers are fashioned in the same form and design as Deep Rootrainers, but Maxi Rootrainers are made in a larger size – they are both deeper and wider than Deep Rootrainers.  You can read more of the Rootrainers’ design here.

Maxi Rootrainers would make a lovely gift for a gardener keen on growing sweet peas, peas, beans, and a variety of other deep rooted plants.

Lathyrus odoratus ‘Betty Maiden’ pictured during my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial.

Other articles that may interest you………………..

To read about Deep Rootrainers and the Rootrainers Racking Station, please click here.

To read my 2017 Compost Trial Report: Growing Broad Beans, please click here.

To read the results of my 2017 Compost Trial Report: Growing Calendula, please click here.

To see my recommended, trialled, tested, and reviewed list of gifts for gardeners for 2017, including talks and events for 2018, please click here.

To read my review of Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty’s book No Dig Organic Home & Garden, where you’ll also find how to purchase tickets for Charles Dowding’s talk in Surrey, in March 2018, please click here.

To read my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial Report, please click here.

To read my review of Green & Blue Bee Bricks and Bee Blocks, please click here.

To read my book review of Hedera The Complete Guide by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall, please click here.

To read my book review of The English Roses by David Austin, please click here.

To read the results of my 2016 Compost Trial, please click here.

To read about Christmas at Kew 2016, please click here.

For more tried and tested gift ideas, please click here.

To read about the new features of the new BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.

To read my review of Access Garden Products classic growhouses, please click here.

To read the first instalment of my Madagascan Orchid Trial, please click here.

To read my book review of The Book of Orchids a life-size guide to six hundred species from around the world by Professor Mark Chase, Dr Maarten Christenhusz, and Tom Mirenda, please click here.

To read my book review of The Chinese Kitchen Garden by Wendy Kiang-Spray, please click here.

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