Soil Blocking

Today really sold me on the soil blocker.

I’d spent some lovely time last night playing with my packets of seed. Selecting out which packets would be planted today. Writing up labels. Vowing not to buy any more packets of seed until winter crops need sowing.

This weekend's planting.

This weekend’s planting.

 

Compare these photos – all were from the previous seed sowing (24th July) and transplant (7th August) occasions. As part of tidying the greenhouse this weekend I wanted to plant some seedlings out and really was surprised by the difference from a single seed planting day. Finger included for scale.

Seeds were planted in clumps, then transplanted off into soil blocks (A). The rocket in the second photo here is from the same batch as photo D, the only difference was the transplant to a soil block. These got planted into the garden yesterday (17th September).

Transplanted into soil blocks   Transplanted into soil blocks

Others into the individual cells (B).

seedling thinned out, left in seedling cells

Some were planted direct (and thinly) into the individual cells (C).

Seed planted thinly

Also are some seedlings planted into toilet paper rolls and not transplanted (D). Worm farm is the destination for D.

Destined for nothing really

I couldn’t really believe the difference. All were in the greenhouse and got watered the same. On the same shelf so sunlight wasn’t a factor. Same seed raising mix for all.The individual cells even had a solid tray underneath so theoretically they should have been more consistent in moisture. The toilet paper rolls do dry out more quickly.

Needless to say all the seeds I sowed today were into soil blocks.

And planting out! with the soil blocks you just pick them up, place them in the hole or trench and backfill. No tapping out of pots, no turning upside down or teasing apart seedlings planted too close. No picking up pots from around the garden after I’ve forgotten to collect them all and they get blown around.

I’ve been gathering all the punnets and small square pots from around the garden and taking them in to Paulette of Provenance Growers at the Farmer’s Market as she reuses them. (I refer to  her as Wasabi girl as the first thing I bought from her was a wasabi plant, now I’m working my way through all the thymes she has. More keep appearing in her range though – happy sigh)