Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sprouts (of all sorts)

It is the last day of March.  But, I'm seeing no signs of the proverbial lamb hanging around outside. 

Inside, we are toasty warm.  The peppers that I seeded last week are sprouting up a storm.

For a number of years now, we've been starting our seeds in soil blocks.  We use a soil mix that I mix up basically according to Eliot Coleman's potting soil recipe found in his Four Season Harvest.  Making the blocks is rather a simple process using this tool for the small seed starting, and then this tool for up-potting.  Last year, we got the 4-inch blocker second hand.  Now it's easier to start melons and squashes who don't like to have their roots disturbed in any way.

I like the blockers a LOT.  It completely cuts down on the plastic pots that one must use when starting their seeds.  The roots are allowed to naturally air prune, thus making the transplanting process way less stressful for the plants.  And, in the long run saves not only resources, but money as well. 

We start most seeds in the little 1/2 inch cubes in plastic trays that I save from our seitan consumption.  I wash these and use them year after year, as long as we have not had any damping off problems.  If we do, I recycle those trays and start with fresh ones.  Some brands of tofu also come in those containers.  When the majority of the seed in a tray have sprouted, I up-pot them using the 2-inch blocker.  When I up-pot, I give the seedlings a little boost by mixing a little kelp extract in with their water.

It's always exciting for me to see the first of the seedlings emerge.  Kinda feels like me - emerging from a long, dark winter with all kinds of hopes for a wonderful spring.

As these sprouts continue to grow, my other sprouts are growing strong too.

Sweetpea is learning how to actually knead pizza dough alongside her father.  (What a funny site to behold!)

Boy is learning how to use a knife.  Yike! 

And Munch is well on her way to learning to knit, and managing her own homeschooling time. 

Yes...  All my sprouts are growing strong.  And I love it.  What a way to wake up from a long winter's nap!

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