I have grown to love seed starting using the soil blocking method and you should too. Read on for five reasons why.
At the Mother Earth News Fair last year I took a workshop by Lisa Mason Ziegler on the subject. I had never really done it. Not successfully anyway. I either bought starts at a garden center or stuck seeds in the ground and hoped for the best, with varying (mostly bad) results.
While I was still in the class I got on the Amazon app on my phone and ordered soil blockers that were waiting for me when I got home. The next weekend I assembled the ingredients for the soil blocking mix and got started. My maiden seed blocking voyage included zinnias and marigolds.
It was fascinating to watch the seedlings sprout. The germination rate was amazing. Pretty much all of the 16 blocks resulted in a flower.
The thing about starting seeds inside in controlled conditions is that almost all of the seeds germinate (assuming you have good seeds) and do so quickly. When you put seeds in the ground, you can’t control the temperature and light that they receive. In fact, this year two of the things I have started are lettuce and spinach. A couple of weeks before I started them indoors, I had put some seeds outside in the garden. They are currently just barely visible above the soil. The indoor seeds have surpassed the outdoor ones despite getting started a full two weeks later. What a waste of time and garden space! Why wouldn’t I just always choose to start them inside, and move them when they’re ready to thrive outside?
Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
In summary, starting seeds indoors is better than starting seeds outdoors or buying starts because:
- You can control conditions indoors so that seeds germinate quickly and well.
- You can get a “jump start” on your growing season by creating optimal conditions indoors for seeds to get started.
- You will save money vs buying plants at the garden center.
- You can choose from a much greater variety of plants when buying seeds vs whatever is available at the garden center for plant starts.
- It’s just as easy to start more seeds than you have room to use. It takes no more work at all. So, you can share with friends and family or even sell the plants!
This year I have been eagerly waiting for the time to start seeds this year. So far I have started tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, basil, sweet pea, zinnias, bell peppers, lettuce and spinach. As I write this, my area is having what I hope is the last freeze of the year. When I get back I will be planting these seedlings outside.