Soil Blocks & Yarrow Planting

This Fall we’ll be planting several hundred yarrow seedlings into the field & hoop house so they (hopefully) can start vigorously in the Spring. I think soil blocks are becoming more common among regenerative vegetable farmers, and much of the credit goes to Elliot Coleman and Johnny’s Seeds for testing and popularizing the approach.

Pros:

  • full stop to use disposable plastic cell trays

  • bottom watering reduces damping off

  • roots stop at edge of blocks, reducing transplant stress

Cons:

  • dealing with small blocks is a learned skill

  • transport can be difficult

A solid overview of the system is available here. I plan to upsize these 3/4” seedlings to 2” blocks and then put in the field before the end of September, then cover with a breathable fabric before the first frost.

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Soil block mix: garden soil, peat, lime, compost, perlite…

The basic recipe that I use came from here. Elliot Coleman’s recipe uses chicken manure, and the mix is endlessly mutable. I add both Azomite for minerals and mycorrhizal fungi.

So far we have 480 yarrow blocks, and today I’ll add about the same again. With a 3-5 day germination period I think I still have time to get more into the field.