Monday, January 24, 2011

Seeds: The New Beginning

I have to say that this is my favorite part of winter... the time when all of the seeds that I have ordered from various seed companies arrive. It marks the official end of sitting on my hands and the beginning of the garden season. In a week or two it will be time to start seeds. The plans for where everything will be planted are being completed and it gives me hope that the winter will not last forever.

This year we ordered from four seed companies. Johnny's, Territorial, John Scheepers, and Seed Savers. These are all great companies and they offer great quality seeds. I really don't like "bad seeds". They are a huge pain and are a horrible nightmare of mine. George Washington said it best, "Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved." One year I bought cheap seeds and I paid dearly for it. I hand sowed 288 onions only to have about 5 come up (this was a huge disappointment as you can imagine).

This year is going to be different. Not only did we order the highest quality seeds, but I got a new toy to try out...

Ladies and Gentalman, May I present to you the Medium 4 soil-block maker!

I am ridiculously excited to try it out. For those of you that might not be familiar with what a soil-block maker is... well... it makes blocks of soil ;) So instead of filling little plastic seed-starting cell trays full of growing media and later giving the tender young plant transplant shock, I simple use the block maker to form small cubes of seed-germinating mix to start the seeds... when they are ready to transplant the go into the ground or into larger soil blocks. This method provides for much less shock since you are not squeezing the little cell to get the seedling out. Another benefit (the one I am most excited about) is as the roots grow out of the media they are air-pruned and branch to make more actively growing root tips... this means a larger overall root mass and a (theoretically) larger yield for the roughly 100 different vegetable varieties we will be growing.