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Ye Olde Garden

Soil block adventures

Thanks to Prime Day, I picked up a soil blocker. I’m on my way to seed starting and cultivating plants in soil blocks.

This meant also making my own seed starting mix, something that I’ve been wanting to do ever since pandemic gardening switched into full gear. I came up with my own DIY mix with media I was able to collect locally.

  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part organic raised garden soil (Miracle Gro)
  • 1 part organic compost
  • 1-2 handfuls of organic plant food (Espoma Garden Tone)

I used a 1 gallon ice cream plastic container to bucket out my portions into a seed tray and began mixing away.

Realizing that mixing this media in a shallow tray would result in a mess and lots of wastage, I made sure to create a 2nd batch in a stainless steel full size steam pan. We were previously experimenting with high sided steam pans to double as litter trays, but decided it was impractical to keep lidless trays with dogs roaming about looking for “kitty treats”.

Those high sides made it easy to contain the soil mix that turns to slush once you add water. Then it’s just a matter of finding the right jig/dance with the soil blocker to pack the slushy mix and eject the molded blocks.

I forgot to measure the amount of water added to the mix. I was mainly trying to go by feel…so some of my extruded blocks ended up a little crumblier than the next batch. So it’s trial and error for now until I come up with a system that I’m satisfied with and produces the desired results: mainly healthy seedlings.

By the 3rd day, radish, lettuce and kohlrabi seedlings popped up. Success!

Categories
Ye Olde Garden

Veggies!

I have a hankerin to grow some veggies. Of course, being late in the season means very few direct-sow options left. Here’s a short wishlist of ideas:

  • Soy beans (edamame)
  • Bush/French beans (preferably stringless)
  • Okra
  • Peppers (yes more of them!)
  • Swiss Chard (ornamental)
  • Sweet Potato¬†(ornamental)

According to Burpee, these veggies can be direct sown into the garden this time of year. More regional-specific reading can be found at the Aggie Horticulture site.

Question of the day: what’s eating my Lobelia erinus Regatta Midnight Blue?