Monday, March 14, 2011

I have green growing things!

OK they're very tiny green growing things - but that's fine!  I finally got my broccoli started last week!  Thanks to Erin at garden now - think later! who sent me a ton of seeds, I will have three types of broccoli this year!  I now have Waltham and Purple Sprouting, in addition to the Calabrese Green Sprouting I already had.

I'm trying my soil-blocker again.  The seedlings I planted in soil blocks last year didn't do so well.  They sprouted and stayed green, but didn't ever grow to a useful size.  My best guess is that I compacted the blocks too firmly in my efforts to get them to hold together.  I think the perlite I used in the soil-blocker-mix was a little too coarse (it was the only grade they had!), and also in my attempt to downscale the "recipe" (I did not need 40 bushels of mix!) I may not have added enough dirt.  This year I added another bag of potting soil to my soil-blocker mix.

Because I only have one light, and I can only fit two trays under it, last year I was doing my germination in a third tray with a heat mat, but no lights.  I started compacting the soil blocks more when the ones with sprouted seeds started to fall apart when I tried to move them to the lighted trays.  This year I decided to skip the third tray (for now) and put the heat mat/tray directly under the lights.  Now I don't have to move sprouted blocks when their neighbors are still "cooking."  When it comes time to move them into larger containers, we'll see how well they handle being moved!

This Thursday we're supposed to get into the 60's!  There's no rain forecast right now, so that's when I'm going to attempt to rearrange my garden fence to give me a couple of new beds.  Wish me luck!


  1. seed time for you, congrats! I have two lights but only one heat mat so this year I used the heat just for the peppers and the other things seemed to fare okay. I'll be watching your soil blocks - I haven't tried them yet since I'm so hard on my trays, moving and carrying them all over I'm afraid it would be a big mess!

  2. So far the soil blocks are doing OK. I noticed a root sticking out of the side of a soil block the other day, so I moved the broccoli to bigger pots, and had no problems moving the blocks (yay!). The next challenge is to see whether the plants thrive this year. If they do, I'll probably invest in the 4" blocker for next year. It makes blocks with a 2" hole that you can just drop your first block right into, without the need for extra pots! The square shape will also make it easier for me to use my limited lighted real-estate more efficiently. Round pots take up so much more room!


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