Making Soil Blocks

Since spring is here and this is one of the busiest times of year at FiveDollarFarm we are focusing on basic areas that will become habit once you start implementing them.  One of these areas is planting your own seeds in soil for the plants that you want to grow.  Whether those plants are part of a healthy diet or perennial plants or flowers for your landscape, you can save money by planting the seeds yourself.

You could go down to the local “China mart” store and buy your standard run-of-the-mill seed starter trays and bag of starting soil.  We have done that in the past but no longer.  A few years ago we began saving our small plastic 8 ounce yogurt cups.  These were great for us when we were just trying to feed our own family because we generally only planted about a dozen of each plant we wanted like cucumbers, tomatoes, and the like.  I still use them when I am experimenting with seed germination rates or when I find some old seeds that I am not sure if they will germinate.  Our goal has been to use what we have instead of buying everything we need.  Reuse where you can to save some money and the planet.

One new thing we have tried this year to take our sustainability to a new level is the soil block maker that we purchased from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  We actually bought two block makers and the plug attachment for the larger one but generally we are only using the larger one.  The basic idea for these is to mix up some good seed starting soil and use the block maker to compress the soil into its own container for seed planting.  Brilliant!  Also, 50 soil blocks fit perfectly into a 1020 flat tray which is a standard plant tray.

 

Soil block makers from Johnny’s Selected Seeds

 

We also began using Johnny’s Selected Seeds almost exclusively for two important reasons.  First, they offer most of their seeds in a pelleted version which I found works nicely with the soil blocks as you can drop one pelleted seed into the dimple.  Secondly, I found that they generally have a higher germination rate that most other seed companies out there.

Another mistake we had made in the past was to plant multiple items into the same tray.  We didn’t know what some of them were when they began to germinate.  That could be quite confusing.  However, in the spirit of our own personal renaissance, we are challenging all rules that we know or were taught that limit our creativity or thinking.  In this spirit, I will sometimes happily surprise myself by intentionally NOT labeling a tray to discover something incredibly delightful when it spouts.

 

Flower Seeds
Seeds from Burpee found in the supermarket.

 

This post has a video associated with it so you can see the soil block maker in action.  If you have any questions about the block maker or suggestions that everyone can use please feel free to share them.  All comments are welcome.

Baby Chicks in the Ohio Brooder

 

On Wednesday, we put 61 Cornish Giant X meat birds into our newly built Ohio Brooder.  It was very cold last night and I was worried that they would be warm enough.  They seem to all be okay after five days.  As it shows in the video the chicks are very active.  They will stay in this brooder for approximately three weeks and then they will move out to the field in our pastured poultry chicken tractor.  When they are seven to eight weeks old we will begin the processing and make them available to our customers.

Stay tuned as we make more videos showing how we are raising our delicious pastured poultry for our clients.

 

Check out the video.

 

 

 

 

What Are We Lacking?

An interesting thought occurred to me recently.  As I was in a bookstore while  travelling, I noticed near the entrance of the store a table of books that were obviously placed there to grab customers attention and hoped to be purchased.  All the books related to health; eating, exercising, weight loss, etc.  Why is this such a popular topic?  I was told by a high school English teacher that books are written about subjects that currently popular.

There are books to chose from.
There are books to chose from.

I began to ponder why this was such a popular subject.  Are Americans dissatisfied with their appearance or their weight, and their diets?  I think they are.  Not only is it diet or health but also our careers, marriages, families, and many other areas of our lives that need so much help.

FiveDollarFarm will explore these topics more in-depth in the coming months.  We strive to grow go food for local people.  We want to teach others to do the same.  We want everyone to have a healthy, wealthy, happy lifestyle.  Stick with us as we get full swing into the spring season and begin eating in season foods.  You won’t regret it.