Instead of direct seeding followed by thinning, which wastes viable seedlings; or the use of plastic, peat or makeshift pots; why not bite the bullet and purchase a soil block maker? Presto! You’ve eliminated that motley collection of yoghurt containers, egg cartons and other detritus.
- Saves seed (no waste)
- Eases or eliminates transplant shock
- Increases yield
- Saves money (after initial block maker purchase)
- Reduces the clutter, cleaning and storage of plastic or peat pots
The soil blocks can be potted on in bigger soil blocks or put directly in the ground when ready. Magically, roots wait patiently at the margins of the soil block rather than becoming pot bound. When placed in the ground (or a bigger block) they expand naturally into the adjacent soil.
I’ve been experimenting with seedlings known for resenting transplantation: For example, instead of spreading the entire contents of a radish seed packet in a bed and then thinning the tiny seedlings, I put 10 seeds of the heirloom radish Saxa II into soil blocks.
Every ten days I’ll start another ten soil blocks until the packet is finished. When filled with roots I’ll transplant each soil block into my raised beds covered with greenhouse fabric.
These raised beds are filled with cold tolerant greens (lettuces, mache, mizuna, etc.) for winter salad harvest.