[Market-farming] RE contents off Market Farming digest July 15, 2007

Heirloomketchup at aol.com Heirloomketchup at aol.com
Sun Jul 15 16:35:37 EDT 2007

Seed Starting Supplies
Soil blocks, Vacuum Seeders
from steve mcgowan, heirloomketchup at aol Dot com 
Oil based plastic plant trays & pots are not recycled.
   Avoid cheap flimsy plastic trays, pots, Speedling  trays, 6-packs which 
are all manufactured from Oil based  plastics and which ends up in Landfills 
because its too hard for recyclers  to clean economically.
Wash off all the dirt before recycling.
Secondly, many of the same do not even have the Recycling designation  
stamped on them; they go direct to landfills.
Alternatives are: 
1)Soil blocks, used in Europe (Netherlands) for years in commercial  veg pdn
2)Cow Pots (made from moulded manure)
3) Biodegradable pots made from wood, corn and starch  byproducts.
Google for them
Vacuum seeder: manual and electric wand seeder,  will customize.
 www.    gro-morent.com/wandseeder.htm
GRO-MOR INC.  413-743-2064
Adams, MA 01220 Email: gromor at verizon   DOT net 
Motorized Blockers: 
US Global Resources, Seattle, 298-722-3998 www.  usgr. com

Manual Blockers 
Ladbrooke Soil Blockers  5 sizes - Specifications ( www  .ladbrooke.co.uk ) 
Mini 20 (3/4 in blocks)for sprouting & putting in larger 2 or 4" blocks.  It 
works sell but they don't transer into larger blocks very well. 
Mini 4,   2' (4 blocks) hand held $31.00 
Mini 5, 1 1/2"  (5 blocks " ) $31.00 
Multi 20, Multi 12:  1 1/2" (20) or  2" (12) Floor  blocker $189 ( a 3" 6 
block was made- hard to find) 
Maxi 1 , 4" single block hand blocker $105 
In USA,  Available from: www.________ 
Fedcoseeds.com , 
groworganic.com (Peaceful Valley Garden Supply, Grass Valley, CA)  
What are, How to;
Soil blocks are made from peat moss, sand, compost &  nutrients 
(microrhizzae, greensand, lime, bloodmeal, feathermeal,  alfalfa and cottenseed meal,etc).
   I use the 1 1/2 inch (20 blocks) floor blocker. In 4 days  w 2 helpers 
started and hand seeded (wet toothpick method-1 per block,  ) 10,000 blocks and 
built a 3 tiered  shelf system in my 15 ft x 32 ft  greenhouse. I only lost 600 
because I missed watering once.
   I found the plants ( all heirloom tomatoes) take off like  a rocket once 
they sprout- in 5 weeks I had 14 inch tomato plants (10,000 in my  greenhouse 
15 x 32 ft) and I don't have to do anything but water. No potting on,  I just 
don't bother. 
The dry stuff is blended, then watered in a plastic mixing tub for  concrete 
(or on a driveway, piece of plywood.)
One plunges the soil blocker into the wet mix, fills it, scrapes off excess  
and squeezes (plunger)  the blocks  out.
 I put them in a ( free ) 17 by 17inch nursery flat lined with plastic  
window screen(16 x16") that I get at the local nursery. Some of the flimsier  ones 
require two flats. They last for some years, 3 so far.
Mix recipes: google for more
  The mix I make is from a recipe in Eliott Colemans book: The New  Organic 
Grower, 2nd ed.isbn 0-9300031-75-X, Chelsea Green Pub.  $24.95 
 It has directions, recipes, contact addresses, research data  links and 
general market farming "propaganda'- great info. The claim of  hand making 3000 
blocks an hour is baloney unless you are completely  streamlined.
Transplants in Soil Blocks by David Tresemer, 1986, pub by Hand &  Foot. ltd, 
a division of Green River Toos, Brattleboro, VT  Photo copies  are sold by 
groworganic.com-Peaceful Valley Farm Supply $10.00
 Before I transplant soil blocked plants, I soak them with / in a  solution 
of beneficial nematodes, moremicrorhizzae and fish & algae  fertilizer mixed in 
water or compost tea. You are adding aditional  organic matter to the soil 
that helps improve it in a sustainable  manner.
 Two inch blocks of lettuce set on 12 inch grid = 5 tons compost /  

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