The corn that Hercules trampled or ate is gone, and that’s disappointing.  Three weeks of growth–gone.  Time is so valuable in late spring.  Everything is getting started, and so many things are time sensitive.  If we don’t get the corn going now, we can’t just replant it in late July.  There won’t be enough time for the corn to mature before the first frost comes.

I replanted several bare spots in the corn row today, then watered the corn with something called Pee Tea or Poop Smoothie. It’s rabbit poop + pee and hay mixed with water. It smells like the bowels of Hades, especially after sitting in a yard cart for a few days, but it’s supposed to be hecka good for plants.

Hopefully that’ll give the corn a jump start and a strong dose of nutrients. I’m hoping it’ll catch up with the other corn within the next three weeks.

And in other sad seedling news, most of the Boston Pickling Cucumber seeds that sprouted in soil blocks last week were mowed down by slugs last night. I had the soil blocks in shallow plastic containers on the ground. Josh suggested propping them up tonight, so slugs couldn’t get to them. I’m going to try that. It’s not fun to have cute little seedlings eaten. Josh expressed sympathy, and I know he meant it because he knows how it feels to have cute seedlings mowed down, and to lose valuable time. It’s frustrating.

I’ve made a lot of purchases over the years that I thought would improve my life, but they didn’t. Silly kitchen gadgets, ridiculous beauty products, and outdoor gear that is languishing in a dusty storage tote. It’s rare to find a product that promises AND delivers, then becomes an heirloom worth passing down to the next gen.

I bought two soil blockers this month, and already they have earned a top ten spot in my life (and in my heart–not even kidding). Anything that makes gardening easier, more productive, more economical and more effective is the kind of thing gardeners dream of.

A soil blocker is a little hand tool that you pack a soil blend into, then pop it out into perfect little squares–kind of like an ice cube tray, but the soil blocker has an ejector. Then you take the block of soil and plant your individual seeds (or multisow modules, thank you Charles Dowding) into the little squares of densely packed soil.

The soil blocker has dimples in each block which indent the top of the soil block, to make for easier planting. Por ejemplo, my 2×2 inch soil blocker has interchangeable dimples to accomodate large seeds, small seeds and a 3/4″ square so I can transplant my little soil blocks into bigger soil blocks.

You can’t just use garden dirt to make soil blocks–you have to use something that will hold more water and not get too hard. You have to make a special blend for your soil blocker. There are lots of soil blocker soil recipes, but I like to keep it simple: scoop of peat moss + a scoop of potting soil. Add enough water so that when you squeeze it into a lump in your fist, it sticks together. Oh, and as you’re mixing, pull out any big chunks of sticks or bark. (At the time of writing, peat moss is $11 for a bag so big that I can barely carry it).

I hand pack my soil blocker cells. I push the soil mix in pretty tight so that the soil block sticks together as the seedling grows. Then I squeeze the handle and out pop perfect squares of soil, ready to be seeded.

There are so many benefits to creating your own soil blocks. No plastic containers (yay!), no transplant shock when planting your seedlings in the garden, better use of space, easy, relaxing to create soil blocks, and it’s very beautiful. Leave room in the tray where you put the soil blocks so that you can water from the bottom. (They’ll disintegrate if you water from the top.)

In conclusion, a soil blocker is a really nice garden tool and I think evvvvveryone should have one. The End.

Last week I ordered a soil blocker that makes 20 little blocks of soil that measure 3/4″ x 3/4″.

Soil blocks are compacted squares of a special soil blend. They allow you to plant seedlings without using a plastic container. Pretty amazing!

Once the seeds sprout they “air prune” and are much easier to transplant since they aren’t root bound.

This is a great way to start your seedlings.

See that teeny little seedling?
What about this one?

Y’all!! My Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers are poppin’!! Seeee??? I’m so happy!

Life can sometimes be just a string of minor disappointments (sorry to go philosodark on ya). And we just get to roll with them + grow from them. But every once in a while, life surprises you with a miracle! New life is glorious and it’s something worth celebrating!! Seedlings! Yay!

Back to my string of minor disappointments… A tray of bebe onions and wee holy basil were blown off my porch yesterday and scattered to the wind. When you hand-water for weeks and talk to your seedlings, it’s sad when it ends in a flash. Like, mood altering sad. Like, I want to talk to someone, but can’t figure out if it should be a therapist or a botanist. Yes, I can always replant, but I still feel the sting of loss.

Today, I felt like the loss of my onions and holy basil was compensated for with the victory of my super pretentious Jimmy Nardello Italian sweet pepper seedlings emerging!

I transplanted kale and chard, and I direct-seeded Oregon sugar pod peas, which were really productive last year. This time, I only seeded one row, leaving more room for planting beans later.

Heather transplanted rosemary, parsley (curly and flat), sweet oregano, and Italian basil (with cloches covering the oregano to promote growth and basil to protect from frost).

I noticed chives growing next to the well.

Today I planted outside! Josh is stuck inside doing taxes, so I feel kind of guilty. I know he’d rather be outside with me. If he has time today after taxes, I’ll go outside and help with his projects.

I got the radish seeds in the ground. I also planted the pea seedlings that I started indoors back on February 22, 2019.

For the radishes, I took a 2×2 square of ground, turned it over a few times, mixed in some wood chips, scattered the seeds, and lightly tilled them under.

The pea seedlings went into the hugelkultur bed on the south side.

Our seedlings are doing well. Each day, for the past two weeks, I’ve put them out on the front porch for some southeast sunshine. Then I bring them in at night.

We’ve had an unusually cold February (third coldest on record), so we’re anxious for March to warm up the soil so we can plant our cool weather crops.