March 13, 2010: It's a Dirty Job, But.....

It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it! I've made 135 soil blocks in the past two days, enough for my marathon of seeding them Monday. X means the blocks have been made, and the ID tags have been taped on the containers for:

Basil (start seedlings)
X Italian Large Leaf
X Mrs. Burns Lemon

Broccoli (start seedlings)
X Calabrese
X De Cicco
X Waltham

Cabbage (start seedlings)
X Golden Acre
X Gonzales
X Red Acre

Dill (start seedlings)
X Common

Eggplant (start seedlings)
X Red Egg

Lettuce (start seedlings)
X Anuenue
X Buttercrunch Bibb
X Jericho
X Little Gem Romaine
X Manoa
X Parris Island Romaine
X Red Romaine
X Red Sails
X Summer Crisp

Parsley (start seedlings)
X Moss Curled

Peppers (start seedlings)
X Peppers - Early Jalapeno
X Golden Calwonder
X Hungarian Wax
X Mini Yellow Bell
X Quadrato Rosso D'Asti

One flat of 40 blocks

Five trays of 15 blocks and one tray of 20.

Tomorrow I must make soil blocks for my first round of flowers:

Alyssum - Carpet of Snow
Cosmos - Single Sensation Mixed
Echinacea - Tennessee Coneflower
Hollyhock - pink
Hollyhock - white
Marigolds - Petite Yellow
Marigold - saved yellow
Shasta Daisy - Alaska
Sweet William - Tall Double

I'm going to start all the seeds inside, as it's still quite cold in the garden shed. As they emerge, they will be moved out to the mini-greenhouse, under the lights, with heating pads to provide extra warmth for the most tender seedlings.

Son, John, came over tonight to install my new Bosch dishwasher! The old one has not been working well for some time, and I don't have one in my Arizona kitchen, so I've been washing dishes by hand since last October. It sure will be nice to have a working dishwasher again!


  1. You go AG! Hope your sore back is better today...I always say that gardening aches and pains are good pains though :) I will be sowing my flower seeds next week...if i can find room in the greenhouse lol...

  2. Ooo! A new dishwasher? Cool!
    You've also certainly been busy with soil blocking. I keep meaning to make one but haven't gotten around to it. Though today when I was trying to pop out seedlings from the black tray of doom I was wishing I had!

  3. Sunny, granddaughter, Alicia, stopped by last night and I talked her into a good back rub! She's so sweet, and she'll do anything for her grandma :-D Tonight I have grandson, Kevin, here. He helped me clean up a new garden spot behind the shed, and took the shrub Mr. H removed, and loaded it in the pickup. I'll hit him up for another back rub tonight ;-) This will be my first attempt at starting flowers (except for marigolds), and there are lots more to start in a couple of weeks. I hope I can find room for everything!


    Jenn, YES!!! And a good one, too. I just flat out refused to buy a cheap one, so that's why I've been washing dishes by hand. Mr. H finally relented and bought the more expensive model. It's so quiet!

    The soil blocks aren't any more difficult to make than, say, a newspaper pot. They just make your fingernails dirtier. I will be planting a flat of impatiens without the aid of blocks or cells....I didn't realize, when I bought the box of pelleted seed, that they were all mixed up in a seeding starter, so will have to be scattered over the surface of a flat of soil. Supposed to be a hundred seeds in it....good thing they don't mind being ripped out by their roots and transplanted!

  4. Such a great list. I have to remember to start basil and flowers this week, plus paste tomatoes. And bush slicing cucumbers and and and. . . I hope it's an easier week.

  5. Stefaneener, I'll have about a two week "rest" before I start the warm season crops and the rest of the flowers. The little greenhouse will fill up fast!

  6. Hmm. I've already started everything inside late last month. I hope that wasn't too soon. >.< (Seattle area, anyone??)

    Granny, I like your idea of the soil blocks with vermiculite on top. I'll have to try that next year. I started mine in seed starting mix in celled flats, and it all got a white film over it even with the top off. It doesn't seem to have impeded sprouting.. should I be worried?

  7. Chelsea, the Seattle area is quite a bit ahead of us on the east side of the state, so I'm not exactly sure just when you should have started your plants. Check on The Modern Victory Garden Blog (in my sidebar) and see when KitsapFG starts hers.

    I had the white mold on some of my starts last year, and I spritzed them with chamomile tea and set up a little fan to blow on them for a few minutes each day. They didn't seem to suffer from it.

  8. Your drier looks exactly like mine. You must have a Kenmore with seed trays on it. The other day I had my soil blocks all over the top and was pulling out laundry, just hoping the dirt didn't fall on the clean clothes.

  9. Granny, you go with your bad self! I love your organization....there a snafu with my order so my potting mix for the blockers has yet to arrive.

  10. The seed setup looks great! A new dishwasher? Congrats!! I went without one most of last year since ours had broken and it was sooooo nice to finally get that new one!

  11. Looks like I'll have to get on this soil block bandwagon.

    The dishwasher must be a sight for sore eyes. Fantastic.

  12. Your seed starting system looks very professional granny. I bet John’s next project will be a roadside vegetable stand.;o)

  13. Sounds like you've been hard at work! This is one of my favorite times of year, starting seeds and planning for the garden. It's work, but fun at the same time. I guess I just like getting my hands dirty!

  14. Daphne, I cannot believe how you and I so so many things and think so many thoughts at the same time, now we even own the same dryer! Were we related in a past life? ;-)

    Oh, Kelly, how annoying that must be. I'm having a problem finding vermiculite, and I really don't want to buy 3 1/2 cubic feet of it just for covering seeds! I've been to the hardware store, where I've always found it, three times. The tag is on the shelf, but the shelf is empty. I need it tomorrow!

    Erin, the new one has an option to wash just one rack of dishes. My old one did too, but it wasn't supposed to! It would ONLY wash one level. I did my first load last night, and the top rack didn't get clean. I had put my long handled wooden spoon in the bottom, not realizing it was keeping the top arm from turning :-(

    Ribbit, the dishwasher has a learning curve, and I'm at the low end of it right now. I actually had to program it last night, to let it know if I wanted it to super heat dry (no) and how much rinse agent I wanted it to dispense (none).

    John, it's all because of you and the soil block maker. You've made me the seed starting monster I am.

    Me too, Villager. I don't feel like I've accomplished anything until my fingernails and knees are dirty! My body hurts, too. But it's a GOOD hurt.

  15. On the vermiculite, I always find small to medium size bags of it at Fred Meyers in their garden center. You might try looking there if you have one in your area.

    On the Seattle area seed starting schedule - We are considerably ahead of the central Washington schedule due to our milder maritime conditions. We lose all advantage though because our summers are typically so "blah" and not nearly as warm or dry.

    That is an impressive amount of soil blocks you have made! I am tired just looking at it all! :D Good work.

  16. Kitsap, FM was the first store I tried...nada. I couldn't even find any Jiffy Seed Starter! I'm going on the hunt again today.

  17. Granny, I found vermiculite at Lowes. They were selling just one kind of it in a smallish bag.

    KitsapFG, thanks!

  18. Chelsea, I just checked our Lowe's again today and they are still sold out of the small bags. All they have are the 3.5 cf ones. I gave up, I've wasted too much gas looking for it, so I bought a bag of Jiffy seed starter. I probably should have just paid the $25 and got the large bag. At least I wouldn't have to go looking for it every spring. Our local Ace Hardware always has it on sale later in the spring, for $3.45 a bag. Of course, they are out of it right now, I've made two trips to check on it there.

  19. You have been busy seeding. I seeded brassica's last night and a bunch of stuff going in on the 25th I believe. The season is well underway.

    Good luck with the dishwasher. We went without one for 5 or so year before we picked up a portable one 2 years ago. They do make life easier. We have a bosch gas range, they make nice appliances. Efficient, quality but pricey.

  20. Dan, I had a few more flowers I wanted to get seeded, but time ran out on me. It's a bit tough sticking to this moon planting, but I'm determined!

    I'm loving the dishwasher except for one's TOO quiet! Every time I turn it on, I think it has quit working, because I can't even hear the water running into it.