Friday, 27 Jan 12 Snow 2°C / 36°F
I’m very excited about the soil blocks. They make sense to me.
I am positively stunned at how quickly the onion seeds are sprouting (3 – 5 days). This never happens. Traditionally, I sow onion seeds in a tray, obsess about whether or not to put them on a heat mat, go back and forth, wallow in disappointment as only 25% of them sprout, then cave in and buy sets so we can grow the amount we need for the year. I appear to have high hopes! Onions and I have been in the ring together for too long and I will not rest until I uncover the secret to starting them from seed.
If only I can figure out how to find enough compost for potting on. If I can’t find it, I’ll use what I have (Hortibec Organic seed starting mix – a mixture of peat, perlite and compost) and include vermicomopst from my small indoor operation for the blocking mix. I’ll supplement the blocks with fish emulsion and kelp liquid for added nutrition. From what I’ve read, with the potting block recipe from Elliot Coleman, the added lime, rock dust and blood meal spares the gardener from supplemental feeding. However, he also recommends allowing the mix to ‘mellow’ for a few months before using. I have the lime, rock dust and blood meal but not the time to let it ‘mellow’. Vermicompost, seeding mix, and plant juice it is…for this year – at least until my compost ripens or I find a source to purchase.
I have been using a heat-mat thermostat for the first time this year. It is set to 22C at the moment. I started at 20C, but the soil probe was reading 18C. Fine for onions, but I was worried about the parsley and celery seeds being too cold to germinate. Still no Parsley or Celery, but the onions are happy :) All blocks are sitting directly on a ‘root barrier’ capillary mat and misted every other day or so with Chamomile tea to reduce damping off. Turned the fluorescent lights on today for 12 hours per day.
I have not washed a pot so far this year. Awesome!