Brassica seedling problems in soil blocks

adodd67June 12, 2012

This is my first year using soil blocks, and I love them. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, squashes, melons, flowers, all have done very well. The brassicas, however, are driving me crazy. I've tried 3 separate attempts this spring. One was a mild success, and the others were total flops.

Here is what is happening. Germinating well, looking great until their first true leaves come out. Initially they look good, but then they seem to get stunted, and the leaves slowly start to turn yellow. Then the gradually shrivel up to nothing,

I'm growing them in a seed starting mix (Sunshine 360 or Pro mix) mixed with aged compost from cow manure (moo-nure from Home depot). They are definitely not too wet. After their true leaves emerge, I add fish emulsion weakly to the water. One fish emulsion I used was higher in P and K and N. The other I tried was maybe 4-2-1? I've tried inside and out, esp when the weather was cooler.

Any suggestions for me? I'd like to start another round for the fall. Maybe I should try some in soil blocks and others more conventionally?


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Hiya '67. A couple of questions back at you: Have you used that moo-nure from Home Depot before in your soil blocks? If so, ok, check. If not, cow manure can stunt a plant in a compressed soil block due to the excessive nitrogen still needing to be broken down and unable to do so in a less oxygenated environment like a soil block. Then, maybe you're using the fish emulsions too soon, overfertilizing them and causing nitrogen burn. Also, maybe you're compacting the block too much, leaving no chance for a tap root to break free. Inspect the seedling: are the roots stunted too? Did they ever come out of the blocks at all? Were they brown when they did? Brassicas are quite fine in soil blocks really, but you don't need to fertilize them for about 4-6 weeks. If it was me, I'd skip the cow manure, or at least use much less, and try worm compost, worm castings, home-made aged compost, or even good rich garden topsoil. Let me know if this helps: don't give up!

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Block Makers

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:31PM
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