Seeds

Yesterday was spent in the garden again. This time it was time to plant some seeds. πŸ˜€

First things first though I had a go at building a gate to allow the chooks and ducks to access full garden free-ranging without disturbing Miss Anna but as I haven’t got a lock as yet I haven’t opened the wire up to get it working. It’s somewhat of a lash up but it will do the job. πŸ™‚

After that was done and the hungry hoards were fed we were back in the garden and planted some seeds. When I say some, I mean LOTS! I’ve been meaning to get it done all month but if it’s not one thing it’s another and it just hasn’t happened. It’s reached critical point though. If I want tomatoes to plant out come November then I need to get a big move on. So I grabbed my bag of seed raising mix, my soil blockers and gloves and got stuck in. πŸ™‚

I discarded the gloves after a few minutes and got stuck in and well dirty and boy was it fun! πŸ˜€ The blockers are an awesome tool in the garden as it negates the need to have hundreds of seedling trays and also helps when it comes to transplanting time as the blocks allow the roots to air-prune. They reach the outside of the block and realise it’s an inhospitable environment for them and so stop growing that root and focus on others. This means when you plant them out you are minimising transplant shock as you aren’t pulling the seedling out of the soil and exposing its roots to the air. πŸ™‚ Clever huh.

My 2 soil blockers. The Mini 4 on the left and the Micro on the right.

My 2 soil blockers. The Mini 4 on the left and the Micro on the right.

I have 2 of the 3 blocker sizes, the Micro and the Mini although I opted against the Maxi. It was just a little too dear for me although I really wish I had it. I will have a go at making one using a pot though. The size would really come in handy. πŸ™‚ I purchased them from eBay here if you’re interested. Currently there is no Micro listed and nor is there the Micro/Mini 4 combination pack like I purchased but it is well worth asking as I did. Mastergardens were a pleasure to deal with and very helpful.* πŸ™‚

Anyway, I’d had a play with them a while back but you really need either a bag of seed raising mix or your own seed raising mix to get them to block as they should. Even then there was a bit of trial and error for me.

Jamming it into the seed raising mix.

Jamming it into the seed raising mix.

I started with the Mini blocker which creates blocks about 5cmΒ³Β with a hole in the top about 8mmΒ³Β which is large enough to plant most medium-sized seeds in. You can also change the pin in the top that makes the hole to be able to put in a Micro soil block which means you can transplant your Micro blocks up to the larger block if it is still too early to plant them out in the garden. πŸ™‚ Very clever. The Maxi blocker has, in its turn a pin to allow the Mini blocks to be inserted. πŸ˜€

I digress. Β πŸ˜‰

Full of seed mix and ready to press out

Full of seed mix and ready to press out

I grabbed my Mini blocker and jammed it down into the seed raising mix them blocked it out. The blocks come out with a press of the lever on the top. My blocks worked but don’t look too sturdy so next time I used my hands to push the soil into the blocker a little more firmly. Ah, better. Third time worked a charm as I crammed the soil in quite firmly. I am sure I’m not doing it right as I’ve never seenΒ Milkwood or any other bloggers jamming it in like that but hey, it’s what worked for me. πŸ™‚

One I had a tray full of blocks I set to work planting out some of my middle-sized seeds.

My first few rows of Mini blocks.

My first few rows of Mini blocks. Don’t they look neat?

On to the tray of Micro blocks. The micro blocker I had a lot more trouble getting nice firm blocks but I persevered, running a row of Mini blocks down the middle (they fitted better) and then set to work planting out tomato seeds. I have 8 lots of Micro blocks, eat set made up of 20 individual blocks. Yep, 160 tomato seedlings. I have no hopes of them all germinating but even with a 75% or so germination rate I will have plenty of tomatoes. πŸ˜€ I need to find room to plant them all out now! Some will go in the greenhouse bed once the Brassica’s are finished, some will be waiting until garlic harvest time (if we get a harvest that is 😦 ) and yet others will go into as yet unbuilt beds out the front. It’s all so exciting! πŸ™‚

Trays in the greenhouse in my grain sprouting station.

Trays in the greenhouse in my grain sprouting station.

I then filled 2 more trays with Mini blocks and planted out further medium-sized seeds as well as a few more tomato seeds (yes, I planted even more πŸ˜‰ ) and then called it a day.

If you want more info from more reliable sources than I on soil blocking I can highly recommend Milkwood and their posts hereΒ and here on soil blocking. In rereading these this morning i can see now just from the pictures that my seed raising mix is not damp enough which explains the crumble factor. Next time, next time. πŸ™‚ Hopefully they will hold together enough for me but if not then it will be like planting out traditional seedlings I guess.

Ok, so this is what we planted out.

In punnets (I was out of trays for the soil blocks) - Continental Parsley, Curly Leaf Parsley, Sweet Basil and Parisien Pickling Cucumbers (gherkins).

In punnets (I was out of trays for the soil blocks) – Continental Parsley, Curly Leaf Parsley, Sweet Basil and Parisien Pickling Cucumbers (gherkins).

Tromboncino Zucchini, Blacktail Mountain, Butternut Pumpkin, Grey Pumpkin (I never remember to write down the name and I am too embarrassed to ask my friend for the 15th time what it’s called) and Sugarbaby Watermelon in the first tray of blocks.

Left to right, back then front rows - Principe Borghese, Violet Jasper (one of the Tommy Toe tomatoes), Wild Sweetie, Mortgage Lifter, Costoluto Genovese, San Marzano, Heirloom Mix (includes Red Tommy Toe, Black Russian, Beams Yellow Pear, Schimmeig Creg, Tigerella, Green and Aunt Ruby's German) and Jaune Flammee.

Left to right, back then front rows – Principe Borghese, Violet Jasper (one of the Tommy Toe tomatoes), Wild Sweetie, Mortgage Lifter, Costoluto Genovese, San Marzano, Heirloom Mix (includes Red Tommy Toe, Black Russian, Beams Yellow Pear, Schimmeig Creg, Tigerella, Green and Aunt Ruby’s German) and Jaune Flammee.

Down the middle of the tomato blocks I ran a row of Mini blocks and planted some spring onion seeds in them.

This is the kids plantings, using the degradable pots in the gardening kit Allegra received as an extremely belated birthday gift. Allegra shared the pots equally with Jasper and he planted Sugarbaby watermelons and Allegra planted butternut pumpkins.

This is the kids plantings, using the degradable pots in the gardening kit Allegra received as an extremely belated birthday gift. Allegra shared the pots equally with Jasper and he planted Sugarbaby watermelons and Allegra planted butternut pumpkins. I then planted some more watermelons in the pots in the middle. I LOVE watermelon.

Left to right - Californian Wonder capsicums, Yellow Banana capsicums, Bull's Horn Red capsicums, Yellow Tommy Toe tomatoes, Red Tommy Toe tomatoes and Large Red tomatoes.

Left to right – Californian Wonder capsicums, Yellow Banana capsicums, Bull’s Horn Red capsicums, Yellow Tommy Toe tomatoes, Red Tommy Toe tomatoes and Large Red tomatoes.

Victorian Rhubabr, a whole tray full. My kids adore rhubarb.

Victorian Rhubarb, a whole tray full. My kids adore rhubarb.

You can grow rhubarb from crowns or seedsΒ (here is my inspiration for growing from seed).

I also planted some more rainbow chard.

I also planted carrots and parsnip but straight into the garden. They don’t like being blocked so I just loosened some soil between my potato onions and sprinkled the seeds onto the already watered soil. A light dusting of soil over the top and done. πŸ™‚ After reading this blog post (which I shared yesterday) I’ve decided not to thin them. What grows will still be carrots and we don’t care what shape it is. πŸ™‚ In fact, that’s half the fun of homegrown carrots isn’t it? πŸ˜‰ (Do a google image search for “rude carrot” for a giggle.)

I still feel like I need to plant more seeds and indeed I have more to plant out although most of those will go direct (peas and beans mainly) but I have weeding that needs to be done in that bed first as well as hanging something for them to climb up. Peas and beans might be good at climbing but I doubt that even they could manage to climb a 6 foot wooden fence. πŸ˜‰

Well, time to get back into the garden methinks. So long hippies. πŸ™‚

*I’ve not been paid to write this and indeed I haven’t spoken with the seller since I purchased my blockers just over 3 months ago. This is just my not so humble little opinion. πŸ™‚

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Seeds

  1. Mumof2Rs says:

    I need to get back into the garden, I think… Your productivity is inspiring. Those soil blocks seem like a good idea but I would be too worried that they might fall apart, especially if they dried out.

  2. Jo says:

    I have to confess to only ever direct seeding. I am way too slapdash to care for seeds in trays. Kill them all! I’m almost dying having to care for a sourdough starter twice a day!
    But I’m sure you will have a veritable food forest from all those lovely baby plants..

    • I will have a great amount of food if I too can remember to water them! Still, direct seeding tomatoes is not an option here and I don’t want to pay Bunnings for the pleasure. I also want heirloo varieties so aside from buying seedlings from Diggers (to buy 300 plants (approx how many seeds I’ve planted) would be a little pricey) I have little other choice so wish me luck.
      I took your advice yesterday too and spent 15 minutes scraping holes in the garlic beds and whacking in marigold seeds. I had Sparky and Citrus mix so hopefully with all the rain last night they weren’t washed to kingdom come.

  3. narf77 says:

    How exciting! So many seeds, blocks of soil and everything going like gangbusters (and making me feel guilty as hell for not being equally as motivated πŸ˜‰ ). Love todays post and love that you got the hoppers to share πŸ™‚ I never managed in all of my mothering years to get my 3 to share πŸ˜‰

  4. LyndaD says:

    Let me know when they are all up and ill be shopping at Jessie’s Greenhouse instead of Bunnings. Im like you and would probably forget to water them. Hey, we have a new Bunnings here in Hoppers and ive been driving past the old one with all those sails over the garden area wondering what they are going to do with them. Might be worth a call, they maybe going to throw them out.

I'd love to know what you think so please leave me a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s