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Making do

Yesterday was a perfect day for catching up. I transplanted about 100 kale plants into a bed, soon to be known as the Bed O'Kale, or the BLD bed (for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is how I would eat kale).

It was also (drum roll please) tomato-planting day, and I decided to try something new. I used to have a soil block maker, but I got rid of it for reasons that are unclear to me now. Maybe something having to do with selling my lovely, beloved Diamant grain mill *at a substantial loss, never dreaming how the price would triple. . . Sigh. The decisions we make.

So I wasn't about to let a simple matter of not owning the right equipment stop me -- soil blocks it was going to be.


The first step was to moisten soil. Then I tried using a small drinking cup.




That seemed to work okay initially, but eventually the soil stuck really badly and they fell apart, even though I used my favorite bench scraper to convey them. I had to cast about for a better mold. Ideally, it would have some "eject" feature. Ah ha! Paper cup!A simple hole poked in the bottom would let me push the soil out.



They weren't perfect, by any means, but I figured they'd do okay.


Each one got two tomato seeds, since I was sowing fairly old seed. I'm sure, given my luck, that they'll grow perfectly and abundantly and I'll either feel like a murderer with nail scissors or spend a lot of time pulling them apart and transplanting them, ending up with way more tomatoes than I can handle. I'm trying to learn from experience! I don't want 25 tomatoes. . . 12 is plenty.



Each "block" (really a cone) got a bit of moist soil drizzled on the seeds, then lightly tapped to make contact. I covered the whole thing with a humidity dome and tucked it back under the lights. I have a mist attachment to a hose I could use to water, but it's only one flat; I'll probably use a spray bottle at first and then bottom-water them. They're sitting on a nursery flat, hopefully providing some bottom aeration without letting them completely collapse. It's an adventure, at least.

So if all goes well, we'll have a dozen San Marzano, a half dozen Roma VF, and enough tomato products to make ketchup and spaghetti sauce in addition to the regular canned tomato stuff I generally make. Now I have to keep the additional plantings to only ONE Cherokee Purple and ONE Early Girl.

Oh, and maybe two Principe Borghese. We're running low on dried tomatoes.

Today should be Pepper Day, but I wonder if there's enough room under the lights.

*If anyone is considering grain mill buying, this blog has some lovely and current reviews. I probably wouldn't get another Diamant based on it.

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