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Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

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Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/6/2012, 8:38 pm



This is a new video I made today, April 6, showing how to up-pot from the mini-soil blocks to the 2" midi soil blocks. I hope its helpful.

Thank you Daniel9999, your instructions worked.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/6/2012, 8:51 pm

quiltbea wrote:

This is a new video I made today, April 6, showing how to up-pot from the mini-soil blocks to the 2" midi soil blocks. I hope its helpful.

Thank you Daniel9999, your instructions worked.



First I like the video but must ask were they got the mini and larger square blocks. I saw something like that in a seed catalog but cannot remember which one had a tool to produce these two tyoes of block.

Looks very efficient to me........
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/6/2012, 9:25 pm

@floyd......I got mine from

http://johnnyseeds.com

a couple of years ago. Best investment I ever made for starting seeds. No more plastic cells and pots to buy and then toss out. In the search box, type in soil blocks and they'll list a few. Mine are the red mini one with 20 that are 3/4" square and the midi with four that are 2" square. There are a couple of other sizes, like 1 1/2" and a big 4" one that I don't have nor want. I find that for many crops I can use the 2" soil block until they go outdoors in the garden. I make my own air-pruning pots for the larger tomato plants from 2-litre soda bottles. A lot easier and cheaper. They are also reusable every year.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/6/2012, 9:31 pm



@floyd....Here's my first video on starting seeds in mini-blocks.....
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/6/2012, 10:23 pm

Another fantastic video quiltbea. Thanks for putting these together for us!

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  FamilyGardening on 4/7/2012, 3:11 am

are you serious? Shocked

that is the coolest thing ever! cheers ....ive seen the video you and debs made and loved them both and thought it was pretty neat.....but i didnt relise .....

you start off in the itty bitty soil block and then plop it into the larger one??.....wow.....:drunken: ....how easy is that!

thank you so much for making and sharing the video's with us!!

by the way....your plants look so green and lush!!!

hugs

rose
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/7/2012, 9:15 am

quiltbea wrote:@floyd......I got mine from

http://johnnyseeds.com

a couple of years ago. Best investment I ever made for starting seeds. No more plastic cells and pots to buy and then toss out. In the search box, type in soil blocks and they'll list a few. Mine are the red mini one with 20 that are 3/4" square and the midi with four that are 2" square. There are a couple of other sizes, like 1 1/2" and a big 4" one that I don't have nor want. I find that for many crops I can use the 2" soil block until they go outdoors in the garden. I make my own air-pruning pots for the larger tomato plants from 2-litre soda bottles. A lot easier and cheaper. They are also reusable every year.

Great Bea..I thought I saw it in a calalog and have it in front of me now. So you got the hand-held ones around $30/unit. Not a bad investment and you move up from the 2" to the 2 liter bottles?

I have my seeds planted now but Johhny's have gidt cards and perhaps they would be good ideas for B-day and Xmas presents.

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/7/2012, 11:33 am

@floyd....I make my own air-pruning pots for the larger plants like tomatoes or for plants I have to keep going for longer indoors than expected, as for bad weather.

Cut a 2-litre soda bottle (with straight sides, not the ones that curve inwards) about 5-6" tall and punch a hole in the bottom 5 lobes with a screwdriver and hammer. From the drainage holes you just made, take a scissors and cut upwards from each one approx 3 inches. Cut these slits about 1/8" wide for your air zone.



I fill mine with good potting soil for the nutrients to hold them til they are transplanted outdoors. I always bottom water so they can take up what moisture they need to prevent over-watering. Harden off about 7 days before transplanting out your warm-weather crops.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/7/2012, 4:46 pm

Since this is the first time starting seeds inside I wasn't sure how to start so I got a seed starting kit from Johnny's but I LIKE the block maker you have as perhaps I could plant one seed per 3/4" block. The ones that germinated eventually move to the 2" block.

I like the bottom feeding 2 liter bottle idea for larger plants and perhaps large plastic cups for smaller plants

How long do you let cabbage, brocolli, and cabbage hardone off???



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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/7/2012, 8:46 pm

@Floyd.........I usually take a week for all my transplants to harden off. The cool-weather crops have no trouble going into the ground while its still cool outside after they've got adjusted to the wind we sometimes have in the spring.

The warm-weather crops, like tomatoes and peppers I also harden off a week and transplant, but I cover them with cheesecloth tents for a few days so they don't have the strong heat of the sun since they are transplanted out after the last frost and the days get pretty warm.



Hardening off tomatoes for me and for the community gardeners on the garden bench.



Tenting some newly transplanted tomatoes and basil against the noonday sun.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/8/2012, 8:25 pm

Thanks for the advice and pictures. From the last frost date down here I calculate I will plant my cabbage, brocolli, and cauliflower this coming weekend so I will put my palnts out in the garage for a couple of days, then outside.

As I mentioned before I never planted spring crop so I don't have high hopes; but you and others ahve been very helpful

Thanks

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  givvmistamps on 4/8/2012, 8:29 pm

Thank you for sharing QuiltBea! I favorited the videos so I can go back and watch again when I'm ready to start my seeds next year. Cool
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/9/2012, 7:25 pm

Hey Bea.

I got a small question about the blocks. Now I was wondering how you are able to water the blocks? If you bottom feed them do the blocks fall apart?

Also I have about 12 tomotes plants about 4 inches high in 1.5" square blocks so when do I need to put them in larger containers as this is my first time?

Thanks

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/9/2012, 7:41 pm

@floyd.....the blocks do NOT fall apart. I water the tray they are in and let them take up whatever water they need from the bottom. For the mini 3/4" blocks that are sitting warming on the heat mat, I mist them across the top to keep the seeds moist since they are on the top.

I've learned that its best, when first germinated, to allow them to stay on the heat mat til they are almost an inch tall before up-potting into the 2" block. They grow much faster once up-potted at that time. I've experimented and tried up-potting as soon as they germinate, starting to stretch but still bent over at an angle, but they seem to stall in growth in the 2" pot under the lights if up-potted too soon. The ones that have popped up straight nearly an inch are ready to start growing under the lights. In any case, if roots are growing out of the bottom of the 3/4" block, its time to up-pot.

In any soil block or pot, if the roots are coming out of the bottom, I would up-pot them if they have to stay indoors for much longer.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  yolos on 4/9/2012, 7:59 pm

Quiltbea - do you leave the 2" soil blocks in the water all the time. Or do you put them in water for some period of time and then take the blocks out of the water ?
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/9/2012, 8:18 pm

@Quiltbea...

I am glad they do not fall apart. Have the page in Johnny's catalog bookmarked and will have them for next spring. That seems to be a much more efficient way than planting extra seeds in trays and it makes the 3/4" block a sweet idea as you can put one seed per 3/4" block and put the ones that germinate to the 2"

Thanks for being patient to a new seed starter. Just asking question for what I do not yet understand but will learn with your help

Very Happy
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/10/2012, 10:01 am

@yolos.......I don't keep water in the tray all the time. If the blocks are moist, no water added. If they dry out a little, then I put about a half inch of water in the bottom of the tray so they take what they need. Then I wait til they need it again.



Above: Here's the latest seedlings in their 2" blocks but I didn't put water in the tray. The blocks are all moist from just being made. I'll wait til they start to dry out before putting water in the bottom.



Above: These are older seedlings which had some water in the tray yesterday. Seedlings need oxygen, too, and can't get it if they are too wet so let them dry a little between waterings. Only seeds that haven't germinated need to be moist all the time.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  yolos on 4/10/2012, 11:02 am

Thank you for your help Quiltbea. As you suggested, I bought my soil block makers from Johnny's (and a heat mat and plant trays) and have been pumping out new seedlings with great efficiency. They are now all in 2" soil blocks. I am continually fussing over them trying to determine if they need more water or have too much water or if they are getting enough sun. Your explanation is very helpful.

I am in the process of building new raised beds for them so I will be trying to keep them happy in soil blocks or small pots (depending on their size). I now have 6 varieties of tomatoes, 5 vartieties of squash, three varieties of cucumbers, sunflowers, Nastritiums (sp), Borage, and Cosmos. I am trying lots of varieties to see which ones do best in our Georgia heat and humidity. Someday I will have it figured out.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/10/2012, 11:25 am

Yolos....You are in warmer territory than me. I have my cool-weather crops out in the coldframe hardening off and hope to get those in this week, but all my warm-weather crops are just babies yet. They have weeks before they go outdoors. In fact, I just sowed eggplant seed in the mini-blocks yesterday.

Most melons and cukes don't like having their roots disturbed, so if you can, transplant them from the 2" blocks that you can place directly in the ground without pulling them out of a pot or paper cup. They also do even better if seed is sown directly into the soil outdoors when its warm enough.

Good luck and enjoy your gardening experiences.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/13/2012, 9:03 pm

I will use Johnny's blocks next year but what potting soil do you use.

Johnny's has a soil mix and I got some with my seed starting kit I got from them this past winter but is there some type you recomend?

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/14/2012, 8:34 am

Of course you can buy the Johnny's 512 Mix but you can also make your own which is Eliot Coleman's recipe, and he's the one that introduced this method for Johnny's Seeds.

3 Qts Peat Moss, 2 Tablespoons Greensand, 2 Tablespoons Phosphate Rock, and 2 Tablespoons Blood Meal. Mix these components together well. These are all organic.

Next add: 1 Qt Perlite, 3 Qts well-aged Compost and mix everything together. This is the soil block starter recipe.

.......taken from Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch's TV gardening show, "Gardening Naturally" from several years ago.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/14/2012, 5:18 pm

quiltbea wrote:Of course you can buy the Johnny's 512 Mix but you can also make your own which is Eliot Coleman's recipe, and he's the one that introduced this method for Johnny's Seeds.

3 Qts Peat Moss, 2 Tablespoons Greensand, 2 Tablespoons Phosphate Rock, and 2 Tablespoons Blood Meal. Mix these components together well. These are all organic.

Next add: 1 Qt Perlite, 3 Qts well-aged Compost and mix everything together. This is the soil block starter recipe.

.......taken from Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch's TV gardening show, "Gardening Naturally" from several years ago.



Thanks as I was wondering what you used. I figured I could use Johnny's mix as they have videos but was curious as what you used.



Thanks;

Floyd
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/15/2012, 8:43 am

I've got my blockers in the basket ready to order:
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8087-hand-held-4-soil-blocker.aspx
and the the 3/4" blocker:
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8087-hand-held-4-soil-blocker.aspx
What I'm curious about is the 3/4" cut out on the 2" blocks. Is it a separate attachment? I can't seem to locate it Shocked

Edit: Never mind, I found the 3/4" inserts. I was looking way to hard Smile
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-8091-insert-set.aspx

Also quiltbea, I'm up potting my tomatoes today and putting them in Solo cups. When you cut your cups for air pots, are you making any holes in the bottoms of the cups and how far up the sides are you making your slits?

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/15/2012, 9:21 am

Rooster



How high are your tomatoes before you put them in sosl cups. Mine are about 4 inches and growing pretty fast and was curious as when you replanted them in larger containers?
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/15/2012, 9:50 am

floyd, I will be moving them to the Solo cups today. Very Happy They're right at about 4".



For these seedlings, I'm using all sunlight. Our weather hasn't been the greatest the last few days and they've gotten a little leggy, but I think overall they look ok, but I'm no expert. Qb would probably be a better judge Very Happy

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