Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seeds from Granny!

Back on December 25th, Granny from Annie’s Kitchen Garden celebrated 100,000 blog views by holding a contest. I was one of the lucky winners and my prize arrived this week, Seeds from Ohio Heirloom Seeds:

Thank you so much Granny! I am very excited to try the Red Marconi and Quadrato Rosso D’Asti Sweet Peppers. The carrots and lettuce mix will be planted this spring using your Seed Mat Method.


  1. Nice! I'm also trying the Quadrato this year.

  2. Well done! That was a lot of detail to remember but look at that great reward for doing so. :D

  3. And that postmaster said they'd never get there in one piece! I told him we had tough seeds ;-)

  4. Hi Graphixmuse...

    I just came across your site while searching for soil block recipes. Coincidentally, I also bought the 2" soil blocker from Johnny's last year (plus the mini blocker, and the extra inserts), and while I toyed around making some blocks using just my usual Pro-Mix seedless soil starting mix to show off to some workers, after spending the money on the blockers I DIDN'T USE THEM! DOH!

    So I've started trying to pick up some of the stuff I remembered needed to make soil blocks, and just did a search to see what I'm missing. Looks like you also played it somewhat fast-and-loose with the recipes, and I'm wondering if you were overall happy with that and what your plans are for soil block use this year.

    I've got a big vaccu-pack bail of peat moss, along with my usual vaccu-pack bail of Pro-Mix, plus a couple 40 lb bags of "compost and manure" mix. From the looks of things I'll want to mix in sand or vermiculite (and I happen to have the latter on hand)...and am wondering about the fertilizer mix-ins.

    I'm also tempted to cheat on needing to buy additional stuff, and just plan to always water the blocks with greatly diluted worm pee from my worm bin, hoping that'll do the job.

    It looks like you guys have a beautiful chunk of land for gardening. We bought our newly-constructed-but-sat-vacant-for-a-year house in a new development three years ago now. While you got your house and all that land with all those fruit trees and vines established, I'm working with a roughly 1/4 acre heavy clay lot that was weeds (no lawn) when we bought it. I've gotten lawn established and am slowly cutting away at it by adding more garden space. Now I'm producing enough stuff (raised beds are the ONLY way to go!) that a coworker and I provide a CSA service for some of our other coworkers. I would've already been growing more than my partner and I can eat here at home ("just because" I have "a gardening problem"), but now people are paying me for the produce! NICE!

    I'll definitely be checking back in on your blog - you've got some great content here! And I'm jealous you're already eating homegrown fresh veggies... I didn't do a good job with setting up protection for winter harvesting this past fall....better luck next year!

    Thanks for providing such an entertaining blog!

  5. Liisa: It will be interesting to watch Quadrato grow in two very different growing conditions.

    Meemsnyc: Thanks

    KitsapFG: Oh dear! I don’t want anyone to think that I remembered all the information about Granny. I did search her blog for some of the answers.

    Granny: The envelope containing the seeds looked fine. Not mangled or damaged at all. The seeds are perfectly ok. Thank you again.

  6. Jeph: Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for your comment. I took a peak at your blog, Fresh is Best and will definitely be back for more reading. How wonderful that you provide a CSA service to your coworkers. It must be so cool to earn some money from our obsession/hobby.

    I was just thinking that I should do an updated post on my experience with soil blocks so far. Please know that I am no expert, last year was the first time I grew from seed other than what is directly seeded into the garden.

    Last winter I fanatically researched and studied the “recipe” for soil blocks and thought that I had to have the correct soil mixture in order to succeed. However, seeking out the ingredients was difficult in the middle of winter, so I settled for a mixture of seed starting mix, sifted compost, and a sprinkling of Plant Tone by Espoma. Nothing was measured. When the seedlings grew, I watered them with a diluted solution of fish emulsion whenever they showed a bit of stress or a touch of yellowing. I like using a liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion because the nutrients are immediately available to the seedlings. I suspect a worm casting tea would have the same effect.

    It was necessary to pot up my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The rest of the soil blocks were planted directly into the garden in early spring. Everything worked out fine and I had hearty seedlings for my spring planting.

    For my fall seedling soil blocks, I used Pro-Mix with a little sprinkling of Plant Tone by Espoma. Again, all my seedlings grew very well. For the 2011 spring seedlings, I am mixing Pro-Mix with a compost/manure mix along with a sprinkling of Plant Tone. I will water with a diluted fish emulsion fertilizer when the seedlings look like they need a boost, and two weeks after that until planting time.

    As far as the winter harvest I am enjoying, they are growing under lights in the basement, not in the garden. I haven’t tried winter gardening yet, but I hope to someday.

    Thank you again for your lovely post. Made my day, actually. It amazes me how you can find friends with similar interest through the internet. I will be visiting your blog again soon to catch up with your gardening.

  7. So far it seems like the mix of peat, pro-mix, vermiculite and compost/manure mix at least held together well. I don't know if they're going to be good in the long run (right density, nourishing enough, etc), but that's part of the experiment.

    And you're not kidding about finding the ingredients. I've only JUST found a good, local source for greensand, which so many books recommend for gardening/composting.

    I've used liquid fish fertilizer (Alaskan brand?) for years now. Stinky stuff, but the plants seem to do well with it. Not that I've done control groups to see how they'd do without... ;-)

    If I start tomatoes in the soil blocks, I'll be planning to pot them up anyhow. I suspect I'll be starting the tomatoes by mid-March maybe? And then will plan to pot them up at least once before it's time for them to go out in the garden.

    I heard more recommendations for the -Tone products from Espoma from this weekend's symposium, and I've used them over the last couple years. Unfortunately the dogs really seem to like the organic products, so I have to try to keep them from EATING the stuff after I've sprinkled it around veggies/trees.

    I haven't made as much blog-reading time lately, but I know I'll be checking back - looks like you cover lots of fun stuff, and like we have very similar gardening interests! Talk to you soon!