Posted on Leave a comment

Look at the Time you Saved me

Oscillating Sprinkler

Eliot Coleman and many other farmers have automated systems that afford them the freedom to do many other things in their farms and gardens. As we go along we have tried to come up with things that will also save us time amongst other savings. The Soil Block is one thing that saved us time, space, money and resources. The savings from the Soil Blocks seemed endless. One thing that is found on farms and in some gardens as well as greenhouses is some type of water system. It may be a multi source system. It could be from over head. It could be a ground level. It could come from underneath the plant.

Needless to say there are several ways to water your plants. For our size garden an oscillating sprinkler that covers 3,000 square feet seemed plenty. Things are never nearly as much as they might sound when you are thinking in the grand scheme of things. For a mere $8 we plan on saving a lot of time. During those hot summer days when the sky does not open up to offer some relief through rain, we will be pulling the sprinkler out.

It is a great way to get other things done. You can put it on for a pre determined amount of time at night when the sun is less likely to evaporate the much needed water. Or you can set it out during the early morning while you work in the garden. Whichever you choose, it will be a worthy investment and time saver. We could not be more thrilled. It will also help those who are not used to watering plants, when you are away and someone else has to do it.

What are some ways you save time in your garden whether outdoors or indoors? What automated systems are available to you? Don’t know. Tell us what you will be watering and where and we will get back to you with an answer. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Oscillating Sprinkler

Posted on Leave a comment

Soil Blocks – The Follow Up

Soil Blocks: We tried them and told you we liked them. So, here is the follow up. They seem to remain very good at preventing disease. Keeping things maintained and orderly. They are highly efficient. Requiring very little water. They are compact and seem to be carrying a lot of what seedlings need to get started and get transplanted into an outside garden or an inside container. The clay trays could be helping with that too. With my first go at this, I barely noticed, some of the seeds washed out of the Soil Blocks and along rocky (clay) ground. And as the parable of the sower goes, they immediately spring up because they had no depth of soil. But since they have no root, we know they will perish (Matthew 13). The parable of the sower is one of my favorite parables, which I have read many times. It just so happens that I am in the book of Matthew. When you look closely at the featured image for this article you will see that the seeds that were washed out of the soil block indeed sprouted. So, we are praying that we do indeed have good soil in our yard. We have not had it tested. We will indeed learn much on our journey. The cabbage and tomatoes are doing well. But we know different plants have different needs. So, we shall see what our soil produces.

We noticed that a few of the seeds sprouted right away, in just a few days. This is fast for almost all the seeds we have. You can see cabbage pictured to the left. We do have plenty of cabbage. However, those came to us as plants. These as you can see came to us as seeds. As you can see the Soil Blocks are very neat, efficient and it would seem fast. So far we are very pleased. It will be easy to place the hole thing, roots ready, in the ground. The material binding the soil together is very degradable. However, what you may find, Soil Blocks, handmade in a larger garden or farm probably will be more moist with no binding medium. Once the cabbage grows into a larger plant, she will go outside into the garden with a head start. Stay tuned to the journey and we will be sure to give you updates.

What would be the benefits of Soil Blocks for growing your own plants in or outside? What are your observations? How can these Soil Blocks help you save? Do you know where to find Soil Blocks locally? What questions do you have. We love the shape of cabbage sprouts. They look like little hearts just in time for mother’s day. The also remind us of the clover plant. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on 1 Comment

Soil Blocks

We heard about Soil Blocks from another talented farmer and gardener. We were not sure what to think. But from all that we heard, we were excited to give them a try. Soil Blocks come in different shapes and sizes. Which one you use (size) is dependent largely on the size of your seed and plant. While they also can be used for seedlings that grow in size. Just like when you put a seed that is grown into a plant into a larger pot so that it can grow bigger. It is the same concept. There are Soil Blocks and Soil Pellets, which is largely dependent on the shape. Soil Blocks can either be made or purchased. We ventured out in this Corona climate and found Soil Pellets, which we have found to be quit nice.

The seeds are placed in the center of the flat discs. The discs are placed in a tray. We have been moving from plastic trays to clay trays to be more true to our organic pursuits. Clay, we have found, is excellent in disease prevention as well as drainage, especially when there is a hole at the bottom of the pot for drainage. Once your seeds are in place you water the discs, follow the directions on your package, from the bottom (because they are sitting in some type of tray). In the case of our pellets you must be careful to water from the bottom so the seeds do not fall out from the disc. The disc grows about an inch to an inch and a half in height becoming cylinders. The soil medium grows around the hole where your seeds are and effectively buries them in the soil for you.

Our instructions advised us to water the Soil Blocks whenever the soil medium is a light brown. We are still trying to figure out a good labeling system. For now we just used a little paper. We liked the Soil Blocks for several reasons:

  • Saves Money – Because you are using less soil and no pots. You save a tremendous amount of money. We got 36 pellets for around $4.
  • Saves Space – Because you are not using pots and the space the Soil Blocks takes up are considerably less. You save on space and then can spread natural resources such as water, sunlight and soil much better.
  • Saves Stress – Because you do not have to remove transplants from pots, you save on stress plants experience when you transplant them. The entire Soil Block is placed right in the soil. If you have inside contained plants, when moving from say a larger pot from a smaller pot because your plant is growing, the transplant process is a lot easier and also reduces plant stress.
  • Save Time – Because your Soil Blocks do not have to be watered everyday, you save a tremendous amount of time. When it rains outside and your Soil Block are moist inside, you have a day off from watering.

We have not yet transplanted our Soil Blocks. Nor have our seeds grown into plants yet. Check back. We will keep you posted. A few have sprouted. We expect the transplant process to go very well. Another note, the plant roots will be poised to settle in their new homes / the surrounding soil as long as they do not sit to long in the Soil Blocks. Unlike plants in pots whose roots can begin to circle the pot as they grow in search of new soil and resources.

We are all about sustainability so when we saw these clay trays we knew that we could re purpose them when all the plants are in the ground and out of the mini greenhouse. In our garden we have a few melons and squashes. It is recommended that some of them will need to be raised off the ground to prevent rot and other unseen issues. So when we are done with the clay trays in the greenhouse, we will use them to lift our melons off the ground. Wood would probably be easier and more cost effective. However, wood is susceptible to mold and may not resolve the issue we are trying to address.

The Soil Blocks have been a game changer for us. Thus far, we highly recommend them. How can Soil Blocks help you get your own garden started? Try them out and let us know what you think. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Soil Pellets (Soil Blocks)
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook