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Seed Starting!!

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/11/2013, 11:09 am

@quiltbea wrote:


Gosh, I just love this photo, QB. How do you make the blocks? Is there a block making machine?

When I was in the seed starting chat the other night someone, can't remember who, said they use MM for making their blocks. Sounds ideal to me.

Has anyone else done that? How'd it work out?

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/11/2013, 11:57 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@quiltbea wrote:


Gosh, I just love this photo, QB. How do you make the blocks? Is there a block making machine?

When I was in the seed starting chat the other night someone, can't remember who, said they use MM for making their blocks. Sounds ideal to me.

Has anyone else done that? How'd it work out?

CC
Johnny's Selected Seeds Soil Block Makers

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Soil Blocks and how to make them...

Post  quiltbea on 1/11/2013, 12:10 pm

Cape Coddess...I have a video on utube on how to make the blocks.
Camprn posted the URL for Johnnyseeds.com where you can get the blockers. I only have the mini (3/4") and the midi (2") blockers. I make my own large air-pruning pots from 2-liter soda bottles. I just can't consider spending over a hundred bucks for the large blocker.
Some folks make their own blockers from plastic containers and bolts and washers.



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Soil Blocks and how to use them.

Post  quiltbea on 1/11/2013, 12:25 pm

When the mini blocks have germinated, I can then up-pot to the 2" midi size. It has a square right in the middle so the mini block drops right into the hole. Again, no root disturbance. I also drop the tiny ones into soda cups to grow a little bigger.

Smaller crops can be transplanted outdoors from these midi blocks, like broccoli, cabbage, and especially the ones I've planted for only a couple weeks, like cukes, corn, and melons.
Large tomato plants and peppers I up-pot from the midi to my air-pruning soda bottle pots.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/11/2013, 12:29 pm

ooo...a little expensive. I have a credit on Amazon and they are even more expensive there. Guess I'll wash containers for another season. Could be worse. Wink

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/11/2013, 12:39 pm

I just wanted to say that I don't work for nor have any investment in johnnyseeds.com which I mention now and then. It just happens to be a Maine company I trust for my organic seeds and garden supplies that are sturdy and long-lasting and fit well in my home garden efforts.
There are other sources for the soil block makers. Just google and you can find them. You many even find them cheaper.
As for the large tomato air-pruning pots, I make my own from leftover soda bottles.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/11/2013, 12:44 pm

Wonder if I could put the soil into a yogurt cup and then smoosh it real hard with another yogurt cup, if that would work?

CC

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/11/2013, 1:03 pm

Cape.....You could use any kind of cup or small container. You have to have a way of pushing the soil OUT of the cup once its settled and formed in it. Some folks put a bolt with a large metal washer thru the bottom and when the cup is filled, they push the bolt and the washer pushes the soil block upwards and out of the cup.
Experiment. You might make yourself a homemade soil blocker.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/11/2013, 1:34 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Wonder if I could put the soil into a yogurt cup and then smoosh it real hard with another yogurt cup, if that would work?

CC
LOL, My advice CC, put the soil in the cup, put the seeds in the soil, put the cup on the heat mat. In a week transplant into single plastic cells.
It is so easy to over think a simple small garden when the latest and greatest gizmos want your attention. I have a friend who is a production gardener and the soil blocks make feeding and transplanting a whole lot easier for him, but he is dealing with 1000 lettuces at a a time, for example.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  Turan on 1/11/2013, 1:45 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Wonder if I could put the soil into a yogurt cup and then smoosh it real hard with another yogurt cup, if that would work?

CC

I did that last year for the biggest size. It worked. Use a form that is twice as high as what you want, so you can compress it all in one go. Put a marble or something in the bottom to give you a planting divot.

I did get a 2" soil block maker used from a market gardener that needed to make more than 4 blocks at a time.

This year I am contemplating how to make the smallest size for starting and then moving into the 2" blocks. I am thinking squishing a solid plate and then cutting it into little cubes.....

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  Lindacol on 1/11/2013, 2:13 pm


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MM For Seed Starting?

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/13/2013, 9:17 am

I can't buy vermiculite or any starting soils at the moment and I'm all out. I thought I'd use MM and/or straight compost. Has anyone had any luck with either?

CC

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/13/2013, 9:29 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:I can't buy vermiculite or any starting soils at the moment and I'm all out. I thought I'd use MM and/or straight compost. Has anyone had any luck with either?

CC
If I had my druthers, I'druther not sow seed in compost, due to bacteria and potential fungal problems. However I would transplant into compost. You may get some seed starting mix a Lob Lot or Agway or Blue Seal. Seed starting mix is sterile and made of sphagnum peat and vermiculite. You really don't need much of it to get your seedlings going, then transplant them into the growing cells, if that is what you are going to be using.


Last edited by camprn on 1/13/2013, 11:04 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected spelling errors)

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Motivated

Post  BackRiver_SFG on 1/13/2013, 10:48 am

After scrolling through this thread I am motivated to go find my seed starting materials. My Botanical Interest 2013 seed catalog arrived last week and I've selected some new varieties to try and grow this summer.

I think I'll place my order this week. As usual, I think I will add another 4' X 4' box to the garden this year, for a total of 4 SFGs.

Think green!


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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  Thomas on 1/13/2013, 11:11 am

I got my Botanical Interests catalog too. Their cover showing the lakota squash really caught my eye. I am definitely going to order some of those seeds. Also spaghetti squash. Are there issues though if you plant them near each other?

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/13/2013, 11:29 am

@Thomas wrote:I got my Botanical Interests catalog too. Their cover showing the lakota squash really caught my eye. I am definitely going to order some of those seeds. Also spaghetti squash. Are there issues though if you plant them near each other?
Hi Thomas, do you have something in mind when you say 'issues'?

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  Thomas on 1/13/2013, 11:40 am

Well, like with peppers, if you plant jalapenos near bell peppers, they all seem to end up hot. I guess I am referring to cross pollination.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/13/2013, 11:51 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:I can't buy vermiculite or any starting soils at the moment and I'm all out. I thought I'd use MM and/or straight compost. Has anyone had any luck with either?

What about MM? It seems to me that if we can start seeds in it outside, why not inside?

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  camprn on 1/13/2013, 12:12 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@CapeCoddess wrote:I can't buy vermiculite or any starting soils at the moment and I'm all out. I thought I'd use MM and/or straight compost. Has anyone had any luck with either?

What about MM? It seems to me that if we can start seeds in it outside, why not inside?

CC
Fungus is going to be a problem with the MM. By all means, give it a try. Maybe do a side by side comparison.

Please don't get me wrong, I am in no way trying to tell you what to do. you asked for experience from others and I am offering you advice based on my experience. I try to learn from my mistakes and those of others.

I have tried both, I will continue to use a specific seed starter mix, I have found better results with that.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  Turan on 1/13/2013, 12:31 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:What about MM? It seems to me that if we can start seeds in it outside, why not inside?

CC
Last spring I went through a rethinking in face of my seed starting troubles using suggestions read here. I had a lot of damping off and other fungal troubles. I changed to soil blocks and used a lot more scrubbing and bleach on surfaces that baby plants are on.

MM is almost the same as the recipe Quiltbea posted, just has extra vermiculite. For making soil blocks the extra V might cause them to crumble, especially if it was the coarse grade.

Peat has anti fungal properties and great cohesion properties so I tend to use a little extra in my mix. I also will lightly sprinkle it over plants when they reach that critical age, and a dusting of cinnamon if I see anything fungal starting.

So I would try the MM and if possible I would up the peat % to half or even a little higher. You don't need much for seed starting.

Good luck!

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CindiLou on 1/13/2013, 1:03 pm

I did the MM seed blocks last year. They did do a lot of crumbling. I decided then to try without the vermiculite. I have some compost mix ready and peat moss. I have always believed gardening is a learning experience all through life. So if it doesn't work, I'll try something else next year!

Someone on here starts hers in vermiculite. I don't remember who? I do like to start my lettuce that way. It seems to work good. I Just buy a small bag at DG and it lasts years!

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/13/2013, 1:19 pm

I try a couple of different things to prevent damping off. One is that I cover the seeds lightly in their soil block depression with vermiculite then 2) spritz them with a weak chamomile tea.
I make myself a cup of chamomile tea (which I get to drink), then put the used bag in another cup of hot water and let it steep til the water is lightly colored.
I add that cup of spent brewed tea to a quart spritzer bottle which I fill with cold well water to the top. That's my chamomile spritzer.
Does it work? I'm not a scientist. I just know it seems to work for me. As I await the germination of seeds, I keep the soil moist with chamomile spritzing.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  CapeCoddess on 1/13/2013, 2:39 pm

Great ideas, everyone! MM with extra peat it is.

I just came in from dumping 2 earth boxes of MM in to my wheelbarrow. I won't add more compost to it since I don't really need to feed the seeds too much, right? But I'll add about 1/4 more peat. Next weekend I start broccoli and cabbage seeds in it, in lettuce cntrs w/ the lids down until sprouted. Then into the bay window under taller plants, without lids on. If you have any suggestions on this plan, lemme know.

The only side by side I could do would be straight compost, and maybe MM without extra peat. That's all I have, but it would be fun.

Sure was nice being out in the garden with dirt on my hands! THe MM is so soft after weeks of being frozen solid. Can't believe all the weeds I had to pull though. Where ever they came from, they seem to like this warmer weather.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  JK on 1/14/2013, 8:01 am

No one has mentioned this so I guess it isnt an issue but reading all this about the seed starting made me think. For the most part everyone is using vermiculite and peat for their seed starting. Is it possible that continually growing from seed and transplanting will ever throw off the the mels mix ratios in the garden itself by introducing extra peat/vermiculite?

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Re: Seed Starting!!

Post  quiltbea on 1/14/2013, 10:44 am

JK....I doubt it. Remember, you are also adding more compost each time you tranplant as well, along with adding compost at the end of each season or before the next season begins. The compost will far outweigh the other two IMHO.

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Re: Seed Starting!!

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