As farmers this is one of our favorite times of year! After a long winter we are getting our hands into the soil again and seeding plants for the farms! Right now we are starting leeks, onions, cabbage, and broccoli.
Last year as part of our Urban Farmer Training program we learned how to create a relatively low-cost growing system with a baker’s rack, lights and mylar wrapping. We are building two this year to start seeds for our farms and our programs at Martin Luther King Jr Elementary School. These grow systems are housed in the Community Hub.
This year we are experimenting with starting seeds in soil blocks we make. To make them we use soil blockers, forms that create compressed soil “pots,” and local potting soil we purchased. We then plant the seeds into these soil pots. Soil blocks have many benefits. They allow us to use less plastic, are less expensive and give us more space to plant more seeds. Because roots of the plants become air-pruned growing in soil blocks, and not root bound in plastic pots, many people have found that they can grow healthier plants this way as well. We are giving it a try this year! –Melissa MacKinnon
*Editor’s note: Just 2 days after being seeded, the cabbage that Chinira planted began to sprout!