Jack McAllister of Ironton is a gardener.
He is also an inventor, and this year during the Minnesota Inventors Congress he put both of his interests together into an idea he believes could help change how people get ready for spring in their gardens.
McAllister exhibited his invention, which is known as the Roleyrooter, this past weekend, and he said his idea was well received by those who stopped to talk with him about his creation.
The concept is quite simple, but it offers a unique solution to an issue gardeners have faced for years.
The prototype McAll-ister exhibited takes newspaper which has been cut to a specific dimension and then rolls it into a tube that can then be placed in a traditional seed planting flat.
Unlike the standard planting containers one would place in those flats, the invention McAllister came up with makes planting very easy and efficient.
“Doing it this way is much more compact,” he said. “I can get up to 175 of them in a tray vs. 72 using other methods.”
The rolls are deeper and allow for stronger roots as they are contained within the tube, he said, adding the tubes also allow for something unheard of in the world of garden transplanting.
“With these I can transplant vegetables like carrots and parsnips,” said McAllister.
“Did you say carrots,” queried a visitor to McAll-ister’s booth.
Yes, he replied, he has been able to successfully transplant carrots using his system.
“Anyone who gardens knows the frustration of planting carrot seeds in the garden,” he said. “They are so small, and when they come up the weeds come with them.
“Then when you pull up the weeds the small plants come up, too.”
The Roleyrooter all-ows for plants to be very well established before they are ever put in the ground outside, and he said that is ideal for plants, such as carrots as they continue to grow.
Another benefit of using newspaper, said McAllister, is it is completely biodegradable.
One does not have to remove the plant from its container before putting it in the ground, because the paper is going to decompose over time.
McAllister said the tube system allows gardeners to plant their seeds at whatever depth is necessary and to help them get that good start they need.
He also said the tubes are strong enough that they won’t just bend over when one begins putting the soil in them.
“I can just pour the soil over the top and then shake it in each tube,” said McAllister.
Page 2 of 2 - McAllister said the tubes are easy to use and adaptable, which means they could be used in the classroom with the youngest of students who are learning about plants.
While McAllister is still working on his product to get it ready for the market, he believes he is getting close to that point.
For more information, send him an e-mail at email@example.com.