Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Soil Blocks & Our New Laundry Line

Belle made it home safely from Washington yesterday. Hooray! I can blog again! Yesterday I finally took the plunge. I made soil blocks. I bought a soil blocker last year. It cost 35 bucks, but we didn't use it. It was our first year growing indoor seedlings, and making blocks was just to daunting. But there it sat, brand new, unused. What a waste. This year we thought, let's at least try it. Other gardeners like Daphne made is seem so easy; and Robin was trying it for the first time this year. So we tried it. I was astonished at how easy, fast, and efficient it was. Even little C. James was able to do it, as he said, "all by myself papa"! We'll probably use blocks for all our seeds this year. Here's a few pics.


 I screen the soil through a quarter inch screen.

Our formula is taken from Mini Farming Self-Sufficiency on a Quarter Acre by Brett Markham:

30% compost soil
30% garden soil
30% peat moss
10% fine sand

Soil mixture and water

2 inch square soil blocks

It's easy as pie, I don't know what I was afraid of!
1 5 gallon bucket of screened soil made 99 blocks. We planted onion seeds: 

27 Aussie Brown from Malay-Kadazan girl, thanks MKg. I hope we have success!
36 Borrettana Cipollini
36 New York Early from Fedco  

While I'm thinking about it, thank you Daphne for mentioning the idea of covering the seeds with vermiculite instead of soil. I just used a cup to pour the vermiculite into each tiny hole. It made things go very quickly.


Oh yea, the new laundry line on a pulley, we love it! It's high in the sky so the kids can't reach the clothes. It's connected directly to our deck, so we don't have to go far to use it in the winter and it's 50 feet long to hold lots of clothes.





17 comments:

  1. Wow, your blocks look great! I bet Belle was happy with the clothes line!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Robin, Belle loves the line. We haven't used our dryer for a couple weeks now. Although we are sparing our neighbors a view of the unmentionables, by using a small rack inside the deck.

      Delete
  2. I can see the usefulness to it. Facilitates easy transplanting to the garden in a few months. After the initial garden investment this year, though, I cannot yet bring myself to buy such a tool. Hrmff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those pesky budgeting responsibilities. If only we were independently wealthy! I'm betting you'll find a way one of these coming seasons.

      Delete
    2. By these coming seasons you really mean just wing it and find one around the house anyway don't you....

      Delete
  3. The soil blocks look good. It must have been nice to do these outside on the deck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was great to do it outside on the deck. The temp rose to 60 degrees yesterday. C. James was pleading with me to get the kiddie pool out so he could go for a swim! Unseasonably warm around here. I'm seriously thinking about throwing down some cover crop in the exposed area of the garden to see what happens!

      Delete
  4. those blocks look great and easy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mrs. Pickles, they were really easy, a little time consuming, but definitely easy. The whole project took me 3 hours.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your pulley laundry line too. I have one of those silly umbrella types and I miss my "real" clothesline!

    I'd never head of soil blocks. How ingenious, thanks for sharing! Glad your trip went well too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What happened to you "real" clothes line? We're really excited about the blocks. We'll have to wait and see how we do with them.

      Delete
  7. You sure can rub it in...I miss my clothes line :o( (crying real tears as I remember)....thanks for telling how inexpensive the soil block is ..I might be able to sneak it in the budget :o)...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea Ginny, you better watch out for me. I really know how to put it to someone. BTW, I didn't know you had a clothes line. It sounds like there's a story to tell behind this one!

      Delete
  8. I so love my soil blocks. The only hard thing is to keep them labeled properly when I move them around into different flats. I keep masking tape on the side of the flats, but sometimes I forget to move it along with the plants.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We've begun labeling with masking tape too. We were terrible with labeling last year. This year we're making a concerted effort. We'll need to keep the tape close at hand too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh Wow I feel inspired. I am thinking of maybe I should have a go to. Boys will definitely have fun with this as they can get their hands dirty. Not sure where I can buy the stuff. Have to look at the seeds company that sells gardening products.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your soil blocks look great! And I'm jealous of your clothes line! The kids think it's great fun to run through the laundry....

    Nicely done!

    ReplyDelete