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Prepared sod blocks for seed starting?  RSS feed

 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1257
Location: Denver, CO
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I've read that the Aztecs used blocks of sod to start squash in, then transplanted the seedlings out.

Some folks like using soil blocks, since these seem to lead to higher quality root systems. However, they can be difficult to keep together, and can use a lot of imported ingredients.

I'm wondering, what if we just used blocks of sod? (Dead, of course.)

In fact, what if we grew special sod? What if we laid out a 4 inch layer of compost, soil, wood chips, amendments, whatever mix we fancied, on a plastic sheet, planted a mix of plants, and watered it for a month or so to get it growing? We could then let the plants freeze out if we chose the right ones, or we could cover it with black plastic to smother it. Then we could cut the sod into squares.

We could use all sorts of plants. We would probably want a fast growing annual grass for a lot of binding roots, nitrogen fixers, and any plants that are considered especially stimulating for selling growth. We could even include a few things that would probably survive and be of benefit to the plant once it is installed. Oats would be a good grass, since they can grow well in the autumn but will eventually freeze out.

What do you all think?
 
Hans Quistorff
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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Great idea. The mat of roots on a plastic sheet could also be turned over and put in the sun to heat kill the roots. I will flag this question for more attention.
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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It seems like prepared blocks would be better then standard sod, anyway; the sod would have perennial roots which would be hard to kill.

And it should hold together a lot better then a soil block.

But my concern would be; could all the organic matter rot too fast, and or dry out too quickly?
 
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