Hannah and Danielle are potty about new-style pots
28 September 2012
Horticulture and landscaping students at Oatridge College in West Lothian have been going potty about a new method of growing containerised plants.
For the past year they have been trialling Superoots Air Pots, which encourage the growth of stronger root systems and - judging by results so far - bigger, healthier plants.
Oatridge started using the revolutionary pots thanks to the generosity of Jamie Single, the managing director of the Caledonian Tree Company in Midlothian, who has been developing the Air Pots for the last decade and is now selling them in many countries.
Jamie offered to give Oatridge a supply, but only on the understanding that horticulture tutor George Gilchrist would undergo a crash course at the company's demonstration nursery at Stair in Ayrshire.
George says: "Jamie could have made a quick sale, because I wanted to buy some, but instead he made an offer not to charge, on condition that he got the chance to explain the whole concept. He was right, because to be successful you have to radically rethink traditional growing methods."
The unique design of Air Pots means that roots are encouraged to grow outwards, through a series of cones and when they emerge outside the pot are automatically "air pruned", which encourages more root growth. The harmful spiralling of roots seen in the base traditional pots never occurs.
Higher National Certificate students Hannah Galloway (18) from Penicuik in Midlothian (left) and Danielle Harte (22) from Whitburn in West Lothian are seen in the picture with two young trees which started out as identical seedlings, but the one in the Air Pot has clearly thrived better than that grown in a traditional pot on the right.
George Gilchrist says: "We haven't done a scientific analysis so far, but it isn't hard to see the difference the Air Pots make."
Oatridge is so impressed that a new 6x12 metre Keder Greenhouse has been built for the Air Pots-grown plants and the College has also invested £2,000 in and automatic irrigation system, which will be installed soon.