December 28, 2007

Seed-Starting Blocks

Another big project that’s been ongoing at my farm is the construction of a new greenhouse.  Unlike my original greenhouse where plants are grown in containers, this new building has been designed with a dirt floor where plants are grown directly in the ground in rich, composted soil.  This means I can have beautiful homegrown produce all year round!  The greenhouse is nearly ready for planting and in preparation, my gardeners have been busy sprouting all the new crops. 

Their efforts have become easier because they are now making their own seed-starting blocks using an efficient tool called a soil block maker, purchased from Johnny’s Seeds. The growing medium we prefer using comes from Vermont Compost Company. It’s a beautiful soil mix that’s all organic.   The clever block-making gadget is pushed down into moistened soil mix and then placed onto a growing tray.  When the release is pressed, out pop four perfect little cubes with an indentation in each for a seed.  You simply fill up the tray with as many blocks as you need.   It’s a real time saver and the seeds grow into especially healthy plants having strong root systems.

A bag of Vermont Compost


Soil block maker


Erika is demonstrating the process


Soil block maker filled with moistened compost mix


Filling a growing tray with soil blocks


Planting radicchio seeds.  Erika likes to place 2 seeds in each hole and then allows the strongest of the 2 seedlings to grow.


A tray of very happy seedlings