It gets expensive purchasing vegetable transplants from your local store. Especially when you are farming on a larger scale. In addition, there really isn’t a great assortment of vegetables when purchased in that form.
We grow Organic, mostly Heirloom vegetable varieties that you can only purchase by seed. Organic for the health value and Heirloom for the amazing flavor! So we grow our plants from seed indoors.
At first we bought plastic trays and plastic pots and found it to be too much plastic for our environmental view. It was also bulky and took a lot space. We had 4 shelves full of trays with heat pads, and lights overhead on each shelf.
We quickly found just reusing a few trays with small soil blocks and no plastic pots was a way to save money, time, electricity and it uses less seedling starting mix. It also results in less plastic in the landfill. We saved the pots we already purchased in case we have a streak of bad weather and have no choice but to repot the soil blocks into the bigger pots.
You can buy soil block makers in a variety of sizes. We bought the smallest one. The larger ones allow the smaller blocks to fit inside the new, larger block the next size up. So you could theoretically start with the smallest blocks then transplant them twice into larger blocks until you have quart size plant.
We only grow our starts for 3 weeks which seems to be exactly when the roots of the seedling fills the small block. We plant outside at that time. If the weather is bad, we transplant the seedlings to small pots, which we had to do this year with our basil.
Best of all we are able to plant almost twice as many seedlings in a tray. We get close to 80 plants out of one tray now.
See how we make our soil blocks on the farm’s YouTube Channel: