Membership has its Privileges

I opened my mailbox today to find this beauty–over 500 pages of seeds from seed savers all over the country–many of which I now have access to as a member of Seed Savers Exchange.

Since I’m not yet a listed member (listed members are those that are offering seeds through the yearbook), there are some I can’t order, but I’m thinking as of this time next year, I’ll have a few varieties to share, too.

I also made my Peaceful Valley Farm Supply order today–my biggest order money-wise, as it’s mostly tools and supplies, cover crop seed and row cover and the like.  I saved some money on that by registering for their Farmer Pricing program (which is completely awesome).

I finally broke down and ordered the 3/4″ and 2″ soil blockers, which will cut down drastically on the amount of plastic in my market garden life.  They make a compressed block of seed-starting mix to plant in rather than using a pot or cell-pack.

The 3/4″ mini blocks should be good for germinating, and those plants that need more time in protected areas can simply have their 3/4″ starting block dropped into the square hole in the 2″ block to give the roots more room to expand.  This should take up less space and result in less transplant shock as well.

I still have a lot of four- and six-packs, and I’m hoping to find a local buyer/recipient for the six-packs.  I’ll keep the four-packs to use for the plants I sell.  Some of my recycled four-packs will be sterilized and re-used at the seed-starting workshop this Saturday in South Sioux City, so they’ll have a second life.

But for the plants I start for my own garden, there’s no need to encase them in plastic pots if they’re just going in the ground. This should also cut down on the number of emptied cell-packs I end up chasing across the garden when the wind comes up.

Unfortunately, I won’t be getting the blockers in time to start the peppers and eggplant (I elected for the whole order to be held for a couple of backordered items), but they might be here in time for the tomatoes if I hold out for a few days past when I planned to start them.

I think I’ll do that–tomatoes are the biggest crop in terms of the sheer numbers of transplants, and pulling them out of the germinator flat and putting them through the “potting on” or “potting up” process into their four-packs is incredibly time-consuming and tends to result in some transplant shock no matter how gentle I am.

The real question now is how I’ll be able to label and keep straight all the varieties in their little individual blocks in the large seed-starting trays.  But I’ve got a few weeks to figure that out.  Maybe I can even block off sections of the trays for each variety with chopsticks or something.

I welcome any soil-blocker tips from gardeners and farmers who use them!

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