Seeds start off healthier and with more vigor in Soil Cubes.
Using soil cubes is the most radical thing you can do to obtain immediate and long lasting success in your garden. By using soil cubes, you will be able to control the early plant development, move them to the garden when ready, and have no consequence for having done so. The seedlings will thrive and you will have a dramatic increase in viable plants in contrast to one who is planting seed directly into the prepared garden beds or rows.
A Soil cube is a cube of growing medium that has been lightly compressed and shaped by a form. A soil cube serves as both a container and the soil for starting and growing seedlings, eliminating the need for plastic pots and trays for transplanted seedlings. Seedlings grown in soil cubes form stronger root systems than those grown in containers due to increased oxygen to the roots and the soil cube's natural tendency to"air-prune" roots. This creates a substantial advantage when seedlings are transplanted into the field, because plants establish themselves more quickly and, because of lessened root disruption, they are less prone to transplant shock. The key to making good soil cubes is to use a mix containing the correct proportions of peat, compost, soil, and sand or perlite... and LOTS of water... although you can make soil cubes out of almost any kind of SOIL...!
Save Money! The soil cube system is less expensive. Soil cubes are made with a small hand tool that will immediately pay for itself. When compared to purchasing peat pellets, peat pots, or other small plastic pots that will deteriorate over time, the small expense of a Soil cube tool will be immediately offset in the first few trays of seedlings. Gone is the expense of purchasing small pots, seed starting kits, and seed propagation tools. Many gardeners will employ coffee cans, yoghurt containers, and other cast off containers to start their seedlings in. Having tried this, I have found the time wasted in preparation and storage is enormous. Soil cubes streamline the process.
A few plants at a time or many can be started. When using flats to start your seedlings you must fill the entire flat with soil, even if you only want to start a few plants at a time. Using soil cubes allows you to sow a few at a time for succession planting. If you want to have continuous lettuce for example, you can sow eight to ten cubes with lettuce every week. By the fourth week, you will have 32 cube set with lettuce and the first batch will be ready to set out into the garden. In a couple weeks, you will be set with lettuce as long as you keep up the sowing of lettuce every week.
Basically, since there is no root shock when the cubes are moved to the growing beds, some plants, usually not recommended for transplantation can be raised successfully in cubes like sweet corn, beets, and cucumbers. Space is used more efficiently.
There is more soil for the seedling to take advantage of and there is no problem with becoming root-bound as in a round pot. A two inch cube has more soil than a three inch round pot.
The Soil Cube Tool with wooden tongs and a fresh soil cube!
You get all this for $24.95 + S/H
You can produce thousands of seedlings at a time and start a small nursury business.
With a minimum investment of money, and an investment of your time and commit-ment instead, you can get started with a micro- business of producing and selling seedlings and plants. The Soil Cube Tool makes it easy to start propagating seeds in a very compact and easy to manage way. Soil Cubes are the backbone of the micro nursury business. Once you get started, you may find micro turning into massive in no time! Maybe even pay off your mortgage like Mr. Byles did below!
Pay your mortgage with heirloom tomatoes? It sounds pretty unbelievable today, but in the early 1930s, Marshall Cletis Byles did just that in his home town of Logan, West Virginia.
His story is an unusual one: Byles owned a small repair shop at the bottom of a mountain which was well known for making trucks overheat. The location of his shop generated a steady business as trucks overheated on the mountain and had to roll back down for some much necessary radiator work. This is where he earned his nickname "Radiator Charlie". Despite the prominent location of his shop, the Great Depression was looming and Byles was looking for other ways to keep afloat.
Radiator Charlie Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes
Radiator Charlie didn't have an easy life: he started working in the cotton fields of North Carolina at the age of 4, and as a result didn't get adequate education. Yet he went on being a pilot, a wrestler, a mechanic, and then succeeding in growing one of the most popular heirloom tomatoes in the country.
The birth of the Mortgage Lifter Heirloom Tomato
With absolutely no experience breeding or growing tomatoes, Byles decided to develop a large and meaty tomato that could feed families. He looked for tomatoes available in his area that met his criteria and started with 4: German Johnson, Beefsteak, an unknown Italian variety, and an unknown English variety.Byles then grew plants from each variety and planted 3 Beefsteak, 3 of the Italian variety and 3 of the English variety in a circle. In the center of the circle, he planted the German Johnson Tomato.
With a baby syringe, he cross-pollinated the German Johnson with pollen from the other 9 plants in the circle. He saved the seeds, which he planted the following year. Byles then selected the best seedlings, and planted them in the middle of a circle, surrounded by the other seedlings. For 6 years, he repeated this process and cross-pollinated the strongest plants in the center with pollen from the plants in the circle.
When he was satisfied that he had grown a stable tomato that met his criteria, he sold the seedlings for $1.00 each, which was a hefty sum back in the 1940s.
The tomato was of course named after him: Radiator Charlie's Tomato. The tomato was so popular that people drove hundreds of miles to purchase the seedlings. With the proceeds of the sales, Charlie paid off his $6,000 mortgage in 6 years.
(Editors Note: a silver dollar from 1930 now has the purchasing power of 25 to 30x... That means that 6,000 x 25 = $150,000 in today's inflated currency. Just look on ebay at the price of a morgan or peace dollar. Inflation is a very real, hidden, tax on our purchasing power!)
Byles' legacy is now called Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter Tomato.
In the mid 1980s, Radiator Charlie shared the seeds of the Mortgage lifter Tomato plants with the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, which has contributed to keeping the variety alive and in high demand.
Mortgage Lifter Tomato Characteristics
- Tomatoes are red and pink
- Tomatoes are amongst the most flavorful heirloom tomatoes
- Tomatoes are big and average 2 to 4 pounds
- Tomatoes start bearing fruit in about 80 days
- Tomatoes are on the meaty side
- Tomatoes have very few seeds
- Tomatoes produce an abundant crop
- Tomatoes are disease resistant
- Tomatoes will produce until frost kills the plant
- Indeterminate Tomato variety that will keep growing as a vine if not pruned
Byles died at the old age of 97, but his grandson sat down with him and recorded him talking about his life and the Mortgage Lifter Heirloom Tomatoes. Some of the recording is available in the archives of the radio show Living on Earth.
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