Friday, January 22, 2010

Soil Block Maker Arrives With an Added Bonus

As most of us know, things rarely go as planned when gardening. Part of my goal with developing a garden plan early was for seed planning. I took inventory of seeds I had on hand from last year, and made a list of seeds I needed for this year. Then I placed my seed order. I was hoping that the process would satisfy my craving to purchase more seeds wherever I saw them.

Then Monday, I decided that I wanted to purchase a soil block maker from Johnny’s. I had a discount code that helped justify the purchase. Once it was in my shopping cart, I thought it would be nice to start some seeds early since I was in the gardening mood. Onions need to be started early, maybe I should try growing them from seed instead of planting onion sets as I originally planned?

So I added a package of Copra onion seeds to my order. Just one package of onion seeds, what harm could that cause?

When my order arrived, there were TWO packages of seeds.

One for Copra onions and another for Patterson onions. A note on my packing slip stated: "Free sample of Patterson onion added to your order. Copra to be discontinued in 2011."

Looks like I’ll be squeezing in onions wherever there is space in the garden….Maybe I’ll even plant some in my flower gardens. Oh the possibilities….Hmmmm…..

ETA: Johnny's just added a really good Soil Block instructional video to their blog. Click here to go to Johnny's blog, Growing Ideas.


  1. Discontinuing Copra? I guess they have to get you hooked on something else so that you will keep buying onions seed from them. I know a lot of gardeners that wouldn't be without copra. I didn't order any though. I went for a big storage onion (Varsity) after last year with tiny little onions. I know it was just the weather but I had to overreact.

  2. Daphne: Yeah, I thought discontinuing Copra was pretty strange. Isn't Copra one of the most common onions grown in our region? From my research, it seems to be one of the better storage onions.

    I've googled "Patterson Onions" but can't find any information on these.

  3. Fantastic score! It's nice at least that they're trying to keep your business even when they discontinue the ones you're used to buying.

  4. Hey, that will give you an excuse to build another box! No?

  5. Nice bonus ! And maximizing your space by putting veggies in the flower beds is a great idea. Pretty too !

    Daphne, Thomas and yourself have given me soil blocker envy, big time. I really should invest. They're cheaper than I thought.

  6. I plant garlic among my flowers. Pests don't like its smell. Maybe, onions can serve the same purpose?
    Please delete my previous entry. Sorry, I messed up.

  7. Ah, we were just browsing Johnny's catalog, and considering one of the soil block makers. Are you using your own potting mix, or the Johnny's mix? Looking forward to seeing how you like the block maker overall, compared to standard cell-pack/seed tray methods. Very nice of Johnny's to send you the sample pack of onions too!

  8. It looks like several of us bought soil blockers this year. We'll have to compare notes. Have you thought about what you would use as a potting mix?

  9. Onions rock. If you're like me, you'd use 4-5 a week anyhow. Good luck fitting them all in.

  10. Never can have too many onions! I hope you find some info on the Patterson onions so you know what qualities it has.

    Beautiful soil block maker. I have never used one but am always quite intrigued by them - just never took the steps to actually acquire or use one. It will be fun to read how it works for you in the coming year.

  11. keep us posted on the block makers - I would love to see them in action!

  12. Ribbit: No better way to keep me happy than to give me free stuff. I think that is a smart move on their part.

    EG: Do I need another excuse ?

    Miss M: Onion seeds quickly lose viability so I think I will need to spread onions into many beds.

    Tatyana: I think you may be on to something. I’ll need to research to see if onions have the same effect.

    Curbstone Valley Farm & Thomas: I will be mixing my own based on Elliot Coleman’s recipe, but am not sure what I will be able to source out yet. I may have to get creative.

    Stefaneener: I do use a lot of onions, so hopefully they will come in handy.

    KitsapFG: I can’t find anything on the Patterson Onions, I may have to email Johnny’s to get more info. Seeding trays don’t last long here no matter how careful I try to be. So I had a choice, purchase seeding trays or the soil block maker. I am hoping the soil block makes are a good investment.

    JP: Thanks for your interest! I will post updates.

  13. I used that coupon code too. Twice. :) (I had to place my second order as my husband.) I managed to miss the video on their blog, thanks for the heads-up!

  14. I bought the soil blocker you purchased plus the mini 20. I didn't think the price was too bad and I was lucky I didn't have to pay duty when theyy crossed the border into Canada. To make my mix, I used 3 parts peat moss, 2 parts mushroom compost and 2 parts perlite.

  15. Kelly: Glad you were able to get a discount :)

    Todd: Welcome! I like my new soil block maker a lot and feel it is a good investment. Your mix sounds good.