This trial is to try and find out which method of seed sowing is the quickest and easiest and results in plants that grow quickly once they are moved to the allotment.
At this time of year germination is very quick and so within three days some of the seedlings were up. I have to say that the seedlings in the soil blocks were up before those in the cells or trays for transplanting.
You can see the blocks behind the cells with more seeds germinated. It did take another 4 or 5 days for the trays and cells to catch up with the soil blocks. They look starved of light because they have been covered in black plastic which I remove as soon as I see the seedlings.
But… something has started to eat the seedlings in the soil blocks. I moved the trays and looked for the culprit but couldn’t find it at all. I am not sure if it is coincidence that only seedlings in the soil blocks have been eaten or not. Those in the trays and cells were untouched. The seedlings in the soil blocks were the biggest of the three on the 24th of August. Below are the cells, blocks and transplanted seedlings.
Update: I eventually found a caterpillar on the seedlings which would explain why there was no slug or snail slime trail.
I decided to put the soil block seedlings that hadn’t been eaten out on the allotment. They were smaller than I would normally plant out but it might prevent them from being completely destroyed. I have covered them with plastic bottles: I do this with all seedlings to protect them from slugs and snails and to give them a slightly more protected start.
So to summarise:
- soil block seeds germinated first and more evenly than the other methods. This meant the seedlings were slightly bigger than the others.
- soil blocks did not need watering as often as the cells or trays. The cells needed watering twice a day on warm days, the trays once. The soil blocks would last a couple of days without watering.
- the soil blocks seem to be more susceptible to slug/snail damage.
- It didn’t take very long to pot on the seedlings from the trays.
I’ll report again in a week to share how the seedlings are doing.