Last night, after I made some soil blocks, I used them to plant okra and several species of herbs. I planted my regular-season (i.e. not early) tomatoes in fairly large pots as these plants grow quickly.
I first planted seven varieties of tomatoes. As usual, I planted several seeds of each variety in a single pot; they will grow together in the garden as a group. I planted only three each of those tomato seeds that I bought this year, but four or more of the older varieties as some of those older seeds might not germinate. I planted one large, slicing tomato variety, ‘Rachel’; a cherry tomato variety that is resistant to blight and new to my garden, ‘nectar’; and five paste tomato varieties, ‘Polish linguisa’, ‘speckled Roman’, ‘agro’, ‘Margherita’, and ‘Corleone’, the last of which is also new to my garden. I like the paste or plum type of tomatoes as I feel they work equally well fresh or cooked and they won’t turn a sandwich into a dripping mess.
In the past, I’ve started okra indoors and transplanted it some years, and planted it directly into the garden other years; this year I decided to try the early start again. I planted four seeds each of okra ‘Cajun delight’ into the three large (48 mm, 2 inch) soil blocks. I didn’t use the central divot but made holes for the seeds in the blocks, which might cause them to fall apart more easily. I’m also not sure if these blocks are large enough for four okra seedlings, but I’ll try the experiment anyway.
I used 40 of the small (18 mm, 3/4 inch) soil blocks to plant some herbs. I used them as eight rows of five blocks each, planting the same thing in each row. I planted three varieties of basil; ‘lettuce leaf’, ‘Italian large leaf’, and a generic sweet basil; plus marjoram, summer savory, and plain-leaf or Italian parsley. I planted two rows of the marjoram and summer savory because I’ve had difficulty getting it to germinate in the past, and one row of each of the others. I tried to plant two seeds in the divot in each block, again because of worries about germination rates, but some of these seeds are so tiny that it was difficult to determine how many I planted, or where they went. I planted all these herbs on the surface and didn’t cover them as some may need light to germinate.
I put all the newly planted seeds in one of the stainless-steel steam-table pans that I find are much more durable than the typical plastic “flats” that are sold for this purpose. I covered the pan with plastic wrap (taped to the pan, it won’t stick to steel on its own) to keep the seeds moist.