Seed Starting with Soil Blocks

This is my second year using soil blocks to start transplants from seed.  A soil blocker allows you to press soil blocks out of a sort of potting mix specially made to hold together on it’s own.  The benefits are that no plastic trays, which inevitably breakdown and make a mess, are needed. Biodegradable pots made out of peat or newspaper is a good option, but another reason makes soil blocks tempting.

Because the blocks are separated by air only, when the roots reach the air they stop growing. This is called “air-pruning” the roots and avoids the plants becoming “root-bound”, which is when the roots hit the side of their container and wrap around.  When those roots grow they essentially choke the plant.

There are various sizes of blockers and the plugs that make the indentations for seeds in each block can receive smaller blocks.  For example these 2″ blocks we’re using for tomatoes and peppers fit into the large 4″ blocker.  We likely will plant them out before they outgrow the 2″ block, but you never know and some people have shorter growing seasons and need a bigger head start.   We’ll be using the micro 1″ blocks for starting our greens in a few weeks.

Old House Salvage

We took apart some of an old house for lumber we can use in the duplex and shed projects this year

Soil Blocks

Starting transplants in soil blocks.

Memorial Day

The crew spent the day at out friend Jason's house down the road, fishing, swimming, and playing ultimate and disc golf.

New worm composting bin
Kita is ready to go
Mushroom logs buried a third of the way down for moisture
Clearing the shed site
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Worms at Work
Kita on the couch
Cedar chip mulched path to common house
Mulched path to composting toilet
Feist
John making cedar stakes to build log retaining walls
Cut the big hickory by the common house
John raking a raised bed with log sides
Apple blossoming
Peas
Mulched raised bed with log retaining walls
Vegetable beds mostly planted
Perennials greening up
Garlic planted last fall from previous year's harvest
Peppers
First asparagus of the year
The Auxvasse
John and Tony in the paw paw patch
Tony hunting mushrooms
Tony in the paw paw patch
Tony's nicely drawn shed floorplan
Giant old sycamore with burl down along the Auxvasse
Tony's shed south side drawing
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She loves sitting in cars
She also loves sleeping on her back
Tony chopping up bananas for the solar food dehydrator
Workshop flyer posted in the Peace Nook
Tony chopping up bananas for the dehydrator
Tony putting trays in the solar dehydrator
Trays of bananas going into the dehydrator
Bobbie climbing on an sycamore trunk
Bobbie and Kita out for a walk

The mistakes I made last year were to put to many different kinds of plant in one tray.  Tomatoes and broccoli have different temperature, light requirements, and germination times.  This year,  I put them together.

Last year we had a late frost and we lost most of our first planting and didn’t have enough for a complete 2nd planting.  This year looks to have an early spring, but just to be sure I’ll be starting at least 2 different batches several weeks apart to insure we have enough transplants and don’t have to buy any.

One thing I’ve already noticed that I’ll do next year is to write down what I plant in each row.  The rows are marked A-I on trays that are numbered.  I ran out of seeds for one of the peppers and had to go back and change my notes.

Also, in case you missed the video I made last year, you can check it out below.

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