Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year - Goodies for the Garden

Goodies from Johnny's
This was my Christmas present to myself this year- a few goodies from Johnny's Selected Seeds. I purchased some seeds, reusable garden clips, two soil block makers, and some pest control (Sluggo and Dipel Dust). It may seem a bit premature to buy pest control now but since I expect that temperatures underneath my hoops will warm up faster during the coming months than the rest of the garden, I wanted to be prepared in case some garden pests decide to wake up early from hibernation. Speaking of my garden hoops, I'd love to get a early jump on the spring growing season by sowing peas, carrots, beets, lettuce, some asian greens and spinach under cover sometime later this winter. Exactly when will depend on how quickly the soil thaws- I'm shooting for late February. Even if this turns out to be a bit too early, the seeds will be left to germinate when the conditions suit them.

soil block makers
I'm most excited about experimenting with my soil block makers. They even came with Eliot Coleman's recipe for the appropriate soil mix to use. Hopefully, the ingredients won't be too difficult to track down locally during this time of year. Also, I was lucky to find that Daphne had posted some great advice on this very subject today. Right off the bat, I have a question for all of you soil block experts out there - After you drop a seed down on top of the soil block (inside the dimple created), do you then cover it with a bit of soil mix or just leave it bare? (Dumb question, I know.)

recycled garden trellis
Finally, this is a bit off topic but I decided to make use of the netting that came with our Christmas tree this year. Can you say, "instant pea trellis"? (Reduce, reuse, recycle!)

OH, and Happy New Year everyone! My resolution is pretty simple this time around- focus on where I am in my life right now (not where I think I "should" be) and embrace it!

18 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Thomas,

    Last year I have used same thing for pea trellis, but I found it to be not firm enough to hold the plants, so this year I will try with chicken wire.

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  2. With soil blocks some people don't cover the seed. I find it germinates better if I do. So I put a bit over it. It probably helps the seeds stay moist. I've heard you get really good results from covering with a bit of fine vermiculite too.

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  3. Wow, Thomas...you give great gifts! Can I be your friend??

    I have to concur with Vrtlarica about the strength of the netting. Last year I lost most of my pea crop when my old stand-by trellis made of rope and metal poles couldn't hold the weight and collapsed into a broken tangled mess. This year I'm thinking cattle panels or something really strong and reusable!

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  4. Oh Thomas, you are a man after my own heart! I am ordering the soil block maker as well (just the 2", 4 cell). And the big green tray to keep the mess in.

    Mark and I have been arguing over where the seed growing station should go, last year it was in our bedroom.....he was NOT a fan of the mess and the lights. :)

    I like those tiny blocks, but I am afraid I would squish them to pieces! You will have to do a demonstration for us, I am off to check out Daphne's post!

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  5. You will have alot of fun with your new toy! Many seeds need to be covered a little, some do not, depends on what you are sprouting. Have you a copy of "Seed to Seed" yet? I believe the requirements for different seeds are listed there. Good reading, but most of the info can be had on the internet as well. Make sure you get some organic fungus gnat spray to have on hand for your indoor seeding area, they are pretty easily controlled if you get them when you see the first one, they usually make their appearance a few weeks after starting the seed! Have fun playing with your new toy!

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  6. I am thinking about ordering the 2-inch block maker from Johnny’s too, but I already have a bunch of seedling trays on hand. Now that the holidays are over, I need to sit down organize and plan what I am going to grow to determine how many seedlings I need to plan on.

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  7. John Best made me a 2" soil blocker from a Tupperware container, and I love it! It takes a bit longer to make the blocks one at a time, but I find it a bit like making the seed mats....mentally therapeutic! And the cost couldn't be beat...FREE! I can make the blocks anytime, let them dry, then (carefully) store them for future use. Once re-hydrated they are ready to plant. I do cover my seeds, once they're planted in the blocks, with vermiculite. It helps keep them moist and gives them a bit of protection, but doesn't restrict their growth at all. I bought some heavy plastic trays at the dollar store, and I put my soil blocks on them. The sides are high enough for bottom watering, and they are strong enough to carry around as needed. I try to cluster the blocks in an area on the tray that will accommodate one of the many clear plastic containers I've saved from buying my rabbit's winter greens (more recycling).

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  8. I am always thrilled to get my annual garden purchases delivered and unpacked... seeds and supplies. It's like Christmas all over again. :D

    I have never used a soil block maker so no help will be forthcoming from me on this topic but I will certainly enjoy reading about how it works for you.

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  9. Wow, what a handsome piece of equipment ! (I have a tool & hardware fetish).
    I haven't tried the soil blocking method yet. I might give it a whirl but use a homemade contraption like Granny's before investing in a standard kit. I look forward to following your SB experience.

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  10. Last year I had romaine & scallions germinating late Feb. Lettuce and a few other things did not germinated until March. The seeds were planted in cell packs. This is the first year that I have overwinter crops in the soil so no idea on their time line. The netting looks like it will work great. I received a pea in a trade that grows 8' tall this year, I need lots of netting :-)

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  11. Happy New Year, Thomas....what are you doing back there...looks like getting ready for spring planting...i walked in my garden today...in my FLIP FLOPS ! It is HOT out here...seems odd to me.....but I have daffodils coming up, roses, pineapple sage and spring showers blooming....kinda wish i was in snow....

    I LOVE the Christmas tree netting for a pea trellis idea. Genius. recylce and reuse..love it....

    All the best in the new year to you and Marc and Jonathan...looking forward to gardening with you this spring...

    fondly,
    kary

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  12. Thanks for the great advice everyone! I can't wait to get started on the soil blocks!

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  13. wonderful resolution...I am so bad with "the shoulds". I'm going to keep this in mind, too...

    good job reusing the tree netting! I don't know that I would have thought of that!

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  14. Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year....Cheers!!!
    turkey holidays

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