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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soil block maker-new gadget

This is a new (to me) garden tool called a soil blocker. I got mine from Johnny's seeds.
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-455-soil-block-makers.aspx
In the past, seeds were started in peat pot or plastic trays. Success was usually pretty good at first, and then seedlings would take a nose dive. After reading more into seed starting, the general consensus is that seedling roots hit the plastic walls and stop growing.With peat pots, the roots usually  did not penetrate the pot very well and also stopped growing. A soil block is just soil, it is supposed to help air reach roots on all sides and allow seedlings to get in the ground running.
Soil is  a mix of coir, peat, compost and potting mix, along with enough water to make a mix the consistency of oatmeal. The dirt is crammed into the metal plunger until the water squeezes out the holes.
The plunger is depressed and the row of soil blocks are placed in a flat. 
The tray is filled with many rows of dirt "pots" and then seeds are loaded into the small center depression area.
This tray has 150 little seed pots ready to go. I am starting 5 types of tomatoes, several lettuces, and two squash. They are sprinkled over with vermiculite to help prevent fungus. The old system of seed starting is below the new flat, these are filled with poppies.
I am standing next to the mini greenhouse wearing my usual gardening outfit-well pretty much my usual outfit.
 
In case you wonder what Erik does out in the garden, he made me this garden bed for Valentines day:
With two raised beds, we hope to have a better harvest this year of tasty fruits and veggies. Here is Erik in his gardening outfit:
You can get one like his at home depot in the paint section, but being plastic and all it will make you sweat!







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