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Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/15/2012, 5:11 pm

When I use soda cups, I punch 4 drainage holes in the bottom and with scissors cut up about 2" from each drainage hole, up the side in all 4 of them. The weight of the soil will open the slits a bit so you don't have to widen them.

I use 2-litre soda bottles for tomatoes since they grow so big before going outdoors (cut about 5-6" tall). I do the same thing but punch 5 holes (1 in each lobe) and cut the slit about 1/8th inch wide.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/15/2012, 5:16 pm

@floyd......I transplant into a bigger pot when the roots start coming out of the bottom of its current home, whether its a 3/4" block or a 2" block. If I am going to be transplanting very soon, they can wait a day or two and I won't up-pot.

You can transplant directly from the 2" block into the ground.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/15/2012, 6:20 pm

Thanks...Looks like will busy tomorrow replanting my plants. I did my chives today when I got home but have soil and cups ready for tomorrow.



Bea..I do not have the block system this year. I wish I did as it is painful to remove everyone out of there original containers.

Live and learn.......





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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/15/2012, 8:13 pm

RoOsTeR wrote: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?

I am planning on purchasing this as well in the future, but have a question. You need to get the 3/4 inch inserts for the four 2 inch block maker? Do you need one for the twenty 3/4 inch block maker?

:scratch:
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/16/2012, 8:27 am

@Floyd....There's NO insert for the mini blocker. It has shallow indents in it to place your seed. Its fine the way you get it.

To make the mini 3/4" fit into the 2" midi block, you have to get the insert set with the black squares that screw into the top of the 2" blocks. If you don't, the square opening won't be there, just a small dibble impression to place a seed. I just checked the photos in my latest catalog and in mine, they have them switched around. Its the square dibble set with the washers and screws that's needed to make the square holes.

Before I got my square dibble set I just dug out a little square space with a narrow piece of venetian blind and a narrow baby spoon. It worked fairly well.

If I am going to use the 2" block for sowing my initial seeds, as in melons, I still use the insert but fill that square hole with some soil before sowing my seeds.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/16/2012, 8:34 am

Qb can double check my links above, but I think I got the items needed to do the blocks quiltbea style Very Happy
I think your plants look good floyd. They make mine look kinda wimpy! I've been thinking I got mine going a bit to late Shocked

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/16/2012, 8:42 am

@Rooster.....I checked your sites. Those are the right items for making soil blocks. I hope you find seed starting as easy as I do these days. Good luck.

I've got some eggplant minis to drop into 2" blocks this morning. All my tomatoes and peppers are growing well in their 2" blocks under the lights.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/16/2012, 9:04 am

Quiltbea, I'm having a great time playing with seeds! I've done some starting from seeds in the past, but never been very diligent about it. It's been fun playing with sunlight and artificial light and comparing the results. Your soil blocks and seeding methods will make things easier and eventually save on little containers and planting supplies. Plus, they just look fun Very Happy

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/16/2012, 8:04 pm

RoOsTeR wrote:Qb can double check my links above, but I think I got the items needed to do the blocks quiltbea style Very Happy
I think your plants look good floyd. They make mine look kinda wimpy! I've been thinking I got mine going a bit to late Shocked

Thanks for the comments on my plants as this is the first time ever growing from seeds. But I have to agree with Bea and you as this is QUITE a mess and the block system will be what I use next year. I have trays everywere and will not make this mistake again.

I was at Agway the other day and they have a Jiffy brand potting mix. Could this be used for blocks?



tongue
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2012, 9:19 am

@floyd.....I don't know on the Jiffy potting mix. You'd have to try it to see if it holds together. That's the prime need for soil blocks; the soil has to hold together and stay compacted or it'll fall apart. Not a good thing.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/17/2012, 8:48 pm

Today I realised how much I would like have had to block system. I just put 22 tomatoes plants , chives, and soon peppers in larger containers. Since this is the first time doing seeds I was amazed on how much time and mess it makes filling new containers with more potting soil for the growing plants.

Even my wife said "there has to be a better way" to grow plants without such effort and mess. I told her next season I will have the block system, which seems to be much easier. I am sure it will take some time to perfect the right moisture content for making blocks, but keeping the dirt in one plastic panwhile making the 3/4 and 2 inch blocks seems to be the best way to go.

Learned the hard way. I think Johnny's should promotethe block system IMHO

Shocked
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/17/2012, 9:49 pm

I experimented tonite by putting soil block mix in my mixing container plus adding seed starter mix to it, about 1/4 starter mix. Mixed it together well and then wet it and plunged my 2" block maker into it. It held up together very well. The blocks are doing well under the lights. Time will tell if they will fall apart in a couple weeks as I bottom water. I'll let you know.

It might be a way to extend your soil block mix if you're running a little short.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/18/2012, 4:54 pm

Funny

as I was over visiting my neighbor and he was showing me his plants he started from seed. Unfortunately he had an accident and only just started so he is think of just buying from a nursery but I told him I have some extra so he took them. Anyway he uses Micacle Grow potting soil so I checked it out.

From the bag it is made up mostly of peat moss, compost, and looks like vermiculite and fertilizers as well. I took a cup full down and it looks like Johnnys 9-12 mix to some dergree.





Got some twigs and stuff in it but wonder if this would work?

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  Turan on 4/21/2012, 7:20 pm

My okra sprouted in its 2" blocks after only 1 week! And then in 2 days stuck tap root out the bottom... Shocked I am told that okra hates being transplanted so I did not want to put it into peat or plastic pots. So I made a 4" blocker using a yogurt tub and pill bottle and plastic bag. It was not as smooth an operation as the blocker is, but not as costly either. So far all looks ok,,,, now to see how it goes watering and growing and eventually moving in and out. But I am psyched so far
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/21/2012, 8:17 pm

Turan wrote:My okra sprouted in its 2" blocks after only 1 week! And then in 2 days stuck tap root out the bottom... Shocked I am told that okra hates being transplanted so I did not want to put it into peat or plastic pots. So I made a 4" blocker using a yogurt tub and pill bottle and plastic bag. It was not as smooth an operation as the blocker is, but not as costly either. So far all looks ok,,,, now to see how it goes watering and growing and eventually moving in and out. But I am psyched so far

Glad to here you okra sprouted so soon!!!! It is good to see sprouts as this is the first year for me and I planted more than I have room for but did not expect so many to germinate.

Since you use the blocks, I do not have them yet, what soil mix do you use to create your blocks?
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  Turan on 4/21/2012, 8:26 pm

This is my first time using the blocks, so I am experimenting. I used Schultz brand seed starter plus. It is a mixture of Canadian sphagnum peat moss and perlite with a mild fertilizer added. I meant to add some compost but some how here we are with none added. So far so good.

The basil is also up and today I see a pepper and an eggplant starting to uncurl. I just did 3 more for broccoli to compare with those I started in Jiffy peat pots that got damping off and thus were planted this week in a rush.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/22/2012, 6:24 am

Never herard of Shultz brand. Then I am new to so probsbly havrn't scouted around enough. Did see some Jiffy potting soils but will have to check all the ingredients first.

This year was my first time starting seeds so I got a seed starting kit for Johnny's which has their 9-12 mix that they suggest for making blocks. The shipping is the killer and I would perfer to get something locally or one I could find at a box store.

Glad to hear all your stuff is coming up!!! I was pretty successful as well and even have brocolli, cabbage, and cauliflower that I started inside in the ground as well as spinache that I started from seed doing OK.

Were did you get the Shultz Brand pottinf soil?
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  Turan on 4/22/2012, 11:33 am

floyd1440 wrote:

Were did you get the Shultz Brand pottinf soil?

I got it at Walmart. I doubt the brand is very important though. I was looking for a seed starting mix of sphagnum peat moss and perlite. Seed starting mix implies they screened it finer than regular potting soils. As peat pots attest to, a high peat percentage should hold together well as a blocker mix. THe compost is there more for nutrition I am guessing.

I am glad to hear your plantings are going well this year
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/22/2012, 12:54 pm

I FINALLY got all my tomatoes transfered:

I have no idea what happened to all the Solo cups or little tupperware containers dear Shocked

On a side note: I caught myself in a daydream just randomly labeling my cups BL Krim (black krim) Razz There's brandy wine, yellow pear, and green zebras that are now black krims Razz
idk

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  Lindacol on 4/22/2012, 4:48 pm

So is it now party time?

Red solo cup,
I fill you up Let's have a party,
let's have a party I love you red solo cup,
I lift you up Proceed to party, proceed to party


Sorry - saw the picture & couldn't resist. Love that song.








RoOsTeR wrote:I FINALLY got all my tomatoes transfered:

I have no idea what happened to all the Solo cups or little tupperware containers dear Shocked

On a side note: I caught myself in a daydream just randomly labeling my cups BL Krim (black krim) Razz There's brandy wine, yellow pear, and green zebras that are now black krims Razz

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/22/2012, 5:01 pm

Can't deny a lil Toby

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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/22/2012, 8:02 pm

I transfered mine last weekend but not as many as you have. I think I have 18 and they too are Brandywine, W.Va 63, and grape. They to all are in solo cups but fortunately my wife had a variety of colors so they were easy to seperate.

Cut hole in botton and slits in the side as Bea suggested, but I would have LOVED to have the block system. Sad the 4 inch is SO expensive compared to the 3/4 and 2 inch makers..............
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I have to up-pot to air-pruners

Post  quiltbea on 4/23/2012, 11:24 am

The majority of my tomatoes are getting too big for their 2" blocks so I'll be up-potting to air-pruner pots today.



This tray are mostly tomatoes with many of them outgrowing their 2-inch soil blocks.



These were started 1 week to 2 wks later and are an assortment of peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.



These are 16-oz soda cups of cauliflowers today, 4/23, that will go out to harden-off as soon as the rain stops. We got nearly 3" of the wet stuff in the last 24 hours.



These are the same cauliflowers on 4/9 in soda cups. Not much growth between them in the soda cups yet the broccoli and cabbage in the 2" blocks grew great.



The broccoli and cabbage hardening-off on 4/10.

As I check out the plants, I have to say that the plants transplanted from 3/4" blocks to 2" soil blocks as opposed to those transplanted into soda cups are doing better. Is it the root freedom, the soil mix (the soda cups are a combo of seed starting soil and a good potting soil) or just coincidence? Who knows. I know the brassicas transplanted to 2" soil blocks earlier (and now in my outdoor garden) developed better and faster than these cauliflowers. Its probably just further proof that seed starting mix has no nutrients.
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  floyd1440 on 4/23/2012, 8:30 pm

Plants look great Bea!! So the 2 inch blocks are not large enough for tomatoes, peppers, cukes, etc.as thet out grow the 2 inch blocks. Then you put them in the cups, I can see how they would be easy to transplant vs digging them out of containers, but you said they are doing so well.

What kind of potting soil did you use? I had enough 9-12 mix for my transplants are they seem to be doing OK
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Re: Part II: Up-potting soil blocks

Post  quiltbea on 4/24/2012, 12:13 am

@floyd.......I don't up-pot cukes. I keep my tomatoes and peppers indoors until its really safe to put them outdoors so they always need to be up-potted into larger pots. Many things can go right outdoors in their 2" blocks, but not those. I found that cukes, pumpkins and melons do best sowing them directly outdoors but if I was going to start any inside, I'd just sow 2 seeds in the top of a 2" block and thin to one later. I might even start some of my Bantam Corn this year in 2" blocks so I have a few earlier stalks. With blocks, there's no transplanting shock.

I use any potting mix I can find cheap. I've bought many decent ones from the dollar stores and they work just fine as long as they look good and don't have several bits of wood in them. The ones with wood don't have enough nutrients to keep them healthy til transplanted outside. The transplants are only staying in their pots until I can safely get them outdoors in their rich garden beds when danger of any frost passes so I don't worry too much about rich potting soil.
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