Harrod Horticultural Slot & Lock Connectors May 2012
Winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Product of the Year Award 2012
Harrod Horticultural claims its Slot & Lock Connectors firmly grip aluminium tubing to allow you to create a sturdy frame of any shape to protect fruit and vegetables or support climbing plants. These connectors won the Product of the Year Award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012. Find out if they live up to the hype with our first-look review.
These connectors look like bits of the plumbing from under your sink. They come in various angles, which promise to allow you to create any size or shape plant cage you like. The connectors are claimed to be quick and easy to assemble and dismantle, and can be used with any 16mm-diameter pole. Harrod Horticultural sells aluminium poles designed to use with them.
Slot & Lock Connectors create a sturdy cage
We really liked these little connectors. We found them easy to use: our tester tried making a large fruit cage and found it simple and quick. Once the screws were tightened the cage was sturdy, there were no rough edges to snag the netting and it was a lot stronger than bamboo. The connectors are cheap - a pack of four three-way connectors costs £3.60 - but you need to give a bit of thought as to what shape structure you might want to make, so you order the correct type and amount.
The aluminium poles come separately and in various lengths. A pack of four 1.46m poles costs £13.30, and if you can't find the exact length you need you can use a hacksaw to cut them to size.
Slot & Lock Connectors provide easy to assemble crop protection
The Slot & Lock Connectors have cross-head screws at each join and each open end, which are tightened to grip the aluminum tubing. The screws are easy to tighten and do grip the tubing very firmly. They will also grip onto any poles of a similar diameter, but they're too short to hold anything slimmer, such as bamboo canes.
Slot & Lock Connectors are less suited for plant support
Harrod Horticultural claims that the Slot & Lock Connector system could be used for climbing vegetable supports, but we thought the shiny aluminium poles would be too slippery for growing climbing plants up, such as runner beans, and you’d need to tie them in very regularly.
Pros: easy to use; simple to create a large frame for crop protection; frame can be tailored to suit your needs; the connectors can be used with any 16mm-diameter poles
Cons: the shiny aluminium tubes are too slippery for climbing plants