alliums ameraucana Anthony Bourdain aphids Appleseed Permaculture aquaponics arthritis artichokes Asian Vegetables aussie basil baby chicks baby turnips bearss lime bee keeping beet greens beneficial insects benner tree farm Biochar Bitter Melon blight blooming hill farm boothby blonde cucumber brix broccoli brussels sprouts cabbage cabbage hill farm camp hill farm cancer caraflex celeriac chicken coop chickens children chinese tamale chives cilantro cilantro root coconut cold frames collard greens Compost coriander corn crop rotation cruciferous crucifers cucumber Dan Barber dan kittredge Dave Llewellyn detox dirty dozen dragon fruit Dutch white clover dwarf citrus eggplant Elderberries factory farms farm to table farmer's market farmers markets Fava beans ffarm to table fish oil flea beetle flowers food allergies food combining food miles founding farmers four wind growers Fred Kirschenmann french bulldog G6pd deficiency garlic garlic festival garlic scapes geese Glynwood grass-fed beef Great Outdoors Listening Tour green tomatoes greenhouse growing indoors Hanalei Hemlock Hill Farm heritage turkey heritage USA hudson valley farms hurricane Irene hyssop iced tea infections influenza Insect control isothiocyanates joan gussow jolie lampkin joong kaffir lime kale Kauai kohlrabi korean licorice mint Ladybugs late blight leeks lettuces local food locust tree maine avenue fish market menhaden meyer lemon mycelia mycorrhizal natural fertilizers nectary nightshades No Reservations Nurse cropping nutrient density okra organic Baby food organic christmas tree Organic Pest Control Parsley Paul tappenden peas Permaculture pesticides pesto petite watermelon plant sap pH plymouth barred rock pole beans potatoes preserving food purple basil qunice Radish Greens rainbeau ridge farm raised beds rampicante raw food real food campaign red hook Rockland Farm Alliance ronnybrook farm row covers salt-preserved duck eggs sambucus nigra seed saving seedlings Sheet mulching small space soil analysis soil blocks soil conductivity sorrel Squash Vine Borer star fruit sugar snap peas sustainability sustainable fishing Swiss Chard tabbouleh TEDx Manhattan terracing three sisters tomato sauce tomatoes trellis trovita orange turkana farms Tuttle Farm urban zen volt white clover winter harvest Winter Squash Young Farmers Conference
Indispensable Books and Resources
  • Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    by Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    by Eliot Coleman
  • The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    by Gary F. Zimmer
  • The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    by Barbara Damrosch
  • 1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    Organic Insect Control
  • Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.

    The best farming and growing magazine money can buy!

  • Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks
    Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks

    2" Soil Blocker

  • Mini Soil Blocker
    Mini Soil Blocker
  • New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    by Emily Brooks
  • What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    by Tasneem Bhatia, Editors of Prevention

 

 

 

 

« Under the Snow: Brussels Sprouts and Collard Greens | Main | Come Eavesdrop on my Conversations at TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat »
Thursday
Feb242011

Seeding Sustainably: Goodbye Plastic pots, Hello Soil Blocks

One of our customers just commented to us that she couldn’t believe how we’ve expanded from last year in our seedling offerings.  The reason?  Efficiency through soil blocks.  We first learned about these from the demi-god of sustainable small farm agriculture in the Northeast, Eliot Coleman in his book Four Season Harvest.  And as we are enter our 3rd full season of growing we're proud to say we’ve completely eliminated the use of those cheap disposable cell pots most nurseries use to grow their seeds.

With some wet/moist organic potting soil, a tub and some sturdy trays you can churn and burn these babies out in minutes once you get the hang of it.  This is a 1.5” soil block maker that makes 5 blocks at a time.  It makes a little indent on the top so you can just pop your seed in there afterwards. 

We use this for lettuces, leafy vegetables like kale, chard, mustard greens and really most small to medium sized seeds.


 

 

For things that need more heat like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant, or for those really tiny almost microscopic seeds, we start off with the Mini Soil Blocker that makes cute 3/4” blocks.

 

 

 

After they grow they fit into the 2” soil block perfectly - all without root disturbance.  It’s literally like a lock and key.

Most people worry that these will fall apart but they get held together by the growing roots of the tiny seedling.  Just mist, put under lights or by a sunny window and watch the magic happen.  If you have a small garden and want to do this, we suggest purchasing the 2” soil block maker.  It’s a great investment.  Then if you decide to get more ambitious it makes sense to get the 3/4” companion soil blocker. 

Here’s the other half of Hook Mountain Growers perfecting the technique:

Push the soil blocker into the wet/moist soil.

Pack it in and remove any excess soil to help create a mold.

Push down on the blocker to release these nice soil brownies.  Voila!  They are ready to be seeded!

 

Happy Growing!

 

 

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>