Soil blocking is a seed starting technique that uses small blocks of soil or seed starting mix. There are no containers, no small plastic cells, just the soil itself. The benefit of soil blocking is, of course, you’re not keeping a bunch of plastic containers around to start your seeds in, but also there is no chance for the roots of the seedlings to become bound by a container. The plants roots will reach the edge of the soil block and simply stop growing until the block is planted, the roots come into contact with more soil, and can take off growing again. This reduces the transplant shock.
Today on Just Grow Something I brought back our flower farmer friend, Kathy Gormandy, to talk about how she uses soil blocking on her farm. We also talk about her new retail space, the importance of locally grown florals, and more. It’s a conversation that has me taking a second look at trying soil blocking again this year. Let’s dig in.
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Karin Velez [00:00:23]:
Soil blocking is a seed starting technique that uses small blocks of soil or seed starting mix. There are no containers, no small plastic cells, just the soil itself. The benefit of soil blocking is, of course, you're not keeping a bunch of plastic container's around to start your seeds in. But also, there is no chance for the roots of the seedlings to become bound by a container. The plant's roots will reach the edge of the soil block and simply stop growing until the block is planted. The roots come in contact with more soil, and they can take off growing again. This reduces the transplant shock. Today on Just Grow Something, I brought back our flower farmer friend, Kathy Gormandy, to talk about how she uses soil blocking on her farm. We also talked about her new retail space, the importance of locally Grown florals and more. It's a conversation that has me taking a second look at trying soil blocking again this year. Let's dig in. Hey.
Karin Velez [00:02:56]:
So you might remember Kathy Gormandy from the episode on growing cut flowers in the home garden. I will link to that episode in the show notes. I wanted to follow-up with Kathy because not only is she an excellent flower grower, and I always learn something from her, but She opened a retail store. She'd given me a little heads up that this was something she was planning quite a while ago, and I was super Excited to see that she'd made that dream a reality recently. Since we last talked, you have, like, gone crazy. Tell me about Artisanal Blume. I'm so excited for this.
Kathy Gormandy [00:03:33]:
Thank you. Yes. I think you have to be a little crazy to take a leap Like that. But it was always something that I wanted to do, just wasn't sure when the right time was. So for the past couple of years, I've been Kinda keeping my eyes open for commercial spaces, retail spaces. Our farm is in a rural area, and we have Support from our local community here, but there's not a lot of people here. But we're pretty close to where a lot of people are, close, in my opinion, 30 to 45 minutes. Those people don't always like to drive 30 to 45 minutes to come to us, but some of my best retail customers are in that subset.
Kathy Gormandy [00:04:08]:
So I was looking in areas where those people WER and kind of a way to bring the flowers to them. And I always thought it'd be really great to have an environment Where people can just come and be in the flowers. Kind of that same feeling that I would get when we have a major harvest day, and I would be sitting in this room, and there's just buckets and buckets and buckets Full of flowers. Like, you could barely even walk because there's nothing but flowers. And, like, how many people actually get to experience this? You know, very few, but it's it's so joyful. And at least for me, I'm kind of weird like that.
Karin Velez [00:04:41]:
No. No. Absolutely. Yes. I agree. People
Kathy Gormandy [00:04:44]:
in and say, Just be in these flowers, and doesn't it make you happy? And so we found the space, and, my husband was kind of a He pushed me in that direction because the space actually also has a bar in it. And so my other idea
Kathy Gormandy [00:05:01]:
I've been tossing around for several years was everybody has a flower bar where you get to pick by the stem and make your bouquet. But what about an actual flower bar? Where you can have your flowers, but you can also have your cocktails. And this place was turnkey. The bar was already there. It's in a retail, like, shopping center. And so we said, let's try.
Karin Velez [00:05:20]:
So the shop is called Artisanal Bloom, b l u m e, and it's designed to be both a retail space and a learning space, and pretty soon, a drinking space. Can you imagine going for a class on how to arrange your own cut flower bouquets And getting to sip on cocktails made with fresh local edible flowers in them, I mean, how cool.
Kathy Gormandy [00:05:42]:
I wasn't sure if South Alabama was ready for that concept Because nobody here is doing anything remotely similar. But I knew if somebody else did it before I did, I was gonna be really mad. So I said, you know what? We just let's just do it. Let's do it. So now we have this retail outlet for our farm flowers, but Also, for other local growers, because, you know, there are times when we're not growing everything that I might need to design with, and we've Got some good relationships with other local farmers, and we can order wholesale if necessary. And so, my contacts at the Sailor know that I'm always the one that says, I want American grown. What do you have that's American grown? To really try to use domestic Flowers. Because I don't wanna be your traditional flower shop that uses let it imports Costa Rica and Ecuador and flowers that have been sitting on our truck for a week.
Kathy Gormandy [00:06:32]:
We want Fresh. We want local. We want unique varieties of things that you wouldn't see anywhere else, things that might not ship well. One of my favorite things is when a customer says, what is this flower? And I'm like, oh, let me tell you all about it because I know you've never seen it before, but isn't it cool? Just really I'm excited to, have a space where people can come in, be in the flowers, and as soon as our Alcohol permits get, approved, hopefully, later on this month, then we'll be able to serve beer and wine and champagne based cocktails, And you can bet there's gonna be some edible flowers floating in the top of all of those cocktails.
Karin Velez [00:07:07]:
Let's rewind for a second though and go back to what Kathy said about American grown flowers. Oftentimes, as consumers, we're thinking about where our food is coming from, where it was grown, whether it's local, or if it's been sprayed with chemicals of some sort. But flowers? We don't always think about those. Where do the flowers we buy at our florist or in the grocery store come from?
Kathy Gormandy [00:07:30]:
Yeah. So the flower industry is huge in that way, imports. Back in probably the 19 forties fifties, it was almost all American grown. It was very domestic. That's how flower shops worked. There were a lot of flower shops that had a garden kind of attached to it, and they would harvest from there and and design with their flowers. And then just over the years, imports have changed. Tariffs have been lifted.
Kathy Gormandy [00:07:51]:
So now it's much cheaper to get imported flowers that are grown in other countries in conditions that we would not allow in America. And one of the reasons that they can sit so long on a truck or in a plane or in a storage facility is that they've been treated with a lot of chemicals to keep them from decaying too fast. So it does prolong their base life, but they're not ones that I wanna stick my nose into and smell. You know? And people do it all the time because they don't know.
Karin Velez [00:08:21]:
What Kathy is talking about here is twofold. First, many commercial flowers are treated with pesticides to protect them from diseases and pests, It's just the same way that many commercial fruits and vegetables are grown. Florists and other professionals in the floral industry are at risk of chemical exposure due to this use of pesticides just the same way farm workers are. If you don't want these chemicals in your foods, you likely don't want them on your cut flowers in your home. Second, there are also preservatives on florals. These are used to extend the life of the flowers. It makes Sense that they'd have to use something to keep them looking fresh while they're being shipped in and then sitting on a shelf and then sitting in a vase in our house. The preservative may contain ingredients like bleach or food grade formaldehyde.
Karin Velez [00:09:06]:
The solution is designed to Slow down the evaporation of water from the flowers, which can help prolong their freshness. Now this solution is different from the one that we typically put into the water with cut flowers. You know those little packets that you get with the bouquet? That usually contains sugar to feed the flowers, an Sidifier, usually citric acid to make the water less alkaline, and an antibacterial agent or biocide of some sort to kill off any microbes which could harm your flowers. This is usually chlorine or bromide like what we use in spas or pools.
Kathy Gormandy [00:09:41]:
So we're just trying to raise awareness of the local Our movement, and there are beautiful local flowers that can be grown in season in America, and a lot of people are doing it. And so just to because you're right. People don't even think about, you know, where their flowers come from. They're just like, oh, from just flowers. But a lot of people really love, You know, eating local food or supporting their local farmer, and this is kinda just an extension of that movement, support your local flower farmer. A lot of the flowers that we grow are edible. I have a baker that buys our flowers to decorate her cakes with because she wants all edible things on Kate, she doesn't wanna buy things that may have been treated or sprayed. So
Karin Velez [00:10:19]:
It makes it interesting to think about too. You know, I guess, That's not something that most people, I guess, ask when they're buying flowers even from a local grower is, what do you spray? What do you use? Yeah. You know? I mean, there's, I guess, this sort of assumption that, okay. Well, if you're growing locally, you must be organic or or whatever the case may be. But just like, You know, you you can't not ask your local farmer, like, okay. What do you spray? What do you use? You know, how do you fertilize? The same questions probably ought to be asked of your flower farmer too to find out whether or not it is okay for you to use Those flowers in the way that you think you can, if you're gonna use them in a in a a cocktail or you're gonna use them on a cake or something, you have to ask them that.
Kathy Gormandy [00:11:05]:
And any good farmer farmer will tell you. So but just know when to ask the question.
Karin Velez [00:11:10]:
So back to the retail space, You were, teaching some classes at the farm, and now you get to use your new retail space for that too?
Kathy Gormandy [00:11:24]:
Yes. So there is a subset of people that still want to come to the farm, and so we are offering that. But for those people that it may be a little bit too far or inconvenient to come out here, we do have the studio as an option. So we're gonna be holding our there too as far as just design classes or, slow blocking classes. Plan to also, do some collaborations with Some of the other artisans whose work we feature in our shop to do some workshops with them too. And then that'll go really nice hand in hand with the fact We have our bar here because it's nothing better than having a workshop when you get to sip a glass of wine and then enjoy with your friends and doing all that good stuff. So
Karin Velez [00:12:04]:
So Cathy mentioned soil blocking. Like I said in the intro, I tried soil blocking years ago, and I gave up after my first attempt because I was in a hurry, And it didn't work right away, and I just needed to move on. That's the problem with trying something out for the 1st time when you really need it to work. It usually doesn't. It's unusual for me to try something once and then just not do it again. Usually, if it, like, goes south, I give it some more time. But My one attempt at soil blocking was years years ago, and I just didn't get the soil to be sort of the right consistency, and the blocks Just didn't work very well for me. And, of course, you know, there's a say in running, nothing new on race day.
Karin Velez [00:12:46]:
Yeah. Because it's always a bad idea. Yeah. Yep. I I was doing this attempted Soil blocking right at the very beginning of a season when I just needed to get stuff planted. So when it didn't work, it didn't work. I threw it to the side, and I literally never went back to it again. So for people who don't know, what is soil blocking?
Kathy Gormandy [00:13:10]:
Okay. So it is one method of Seed starting, where you use some sort of apparatus to create blocks of soil that are kind of Compacted together, with a little dividend in the center of them, and that's where you put your seed. And the benefit to soil blocking is Well, there's a few of them. We use the mini blocks, so they're very small. Most of our seeds that we start are tiny seeds so they can go in a mini block. You can start a lot of seeds in a very small space. So 1 block has can start 20 seeds.
Karin Velez [00:13:44]:
The apparatus Kathy is referring to is called a soil blocker. It's a gadget that comes in various sizes from the mini blocks that she's using that makes 23 quarter inch by 3 quarter inch blocks, All the way up to one that makes a single 4 inch by 4 inch block. The larger blocks are designed to fit the smaller ones inside them. So you can them up into each other or use them to start very large seeds that don't like to be transplanted.
Kathy Gormandy [00:14:10]:
So you can fit a lot of them into a small space, And then we start them on a heat mat. Once they germinate, they go into the grow lights. I start mine indoors. So, my grow light is just the racks with lights inside. You can start so many on a rack. Just tons and tons and tons of seedlings. So it's a space saver. I think it gets me better germination because I'm able to keep the surface evenly moist in these tiny blocks.
Kathy Gormandy [00:14:37]:
You bought them water so you don't displace the seeds, but the small blocks take up the water pretty quickly. They're evenly moist. The germination is better than I can get if I were to just do it in self trace. And then the other major advantage is Lack of transplant shock. The roots tend to what they call air prune. So they grow to the edge of the block, and then they kinda just stop. They hang out there. They don't wrap around and around and around like you would see in a cell tray that sat a little bit too long or when you picked up the, you know, the local store, And you pull it out, and then you have to loosen up all those roots before you can get it in the ground.
Kathy Gormandy [00:15:11]:
The loosening of the roots is, causing Shock to the plant. It's hard on the plant, and they have to recover from that. Some plants recover fine. There are a lot of plants that don't recover well, and so most people say, oh, you can't transplant those. You have To direct seed them, and that's not necessarily the case with soil blocks. You can start in soil blocks a lot of things that would normally need to be direct sown Because you don't have that risk of transplant shock. So those are a few reasons that I like to do it, and I think it's fun. Just something about Getting your hands in that I use Pro Mix, just make it to, like, a a mud pie consistency or, like, wet cement.
Kathy Gormandy [00:15:47]:
Getting it in there, stamping it out, And then just put in each little seed. It's very, like, soothing and meditative.
Karin Velez [00:15:54]:
This idea of soil blocking was brought To the US by Eliot Coleman, American farmer, author, agricultural researcher, and educator. He owns and operates Four Season Farm in Maine with his wife, author Barbara Damrosch, and he is the inspiration behind many of the tools that are sold at Johnny's Seed. He is also an author, and his Winter Harvest Handbook was Actually, one of the first that I read at the beginning of my market farming journey. Elliott says when they started as commercial vegetable growers in Teen 69, they used to grow their seedlings in wooden flats filled with potting soil. They kept a series of marker boards with Owls set at the ideal spacing for the different crops, which they would place on top of the flat to make indentations in the potting in soil where each seed would go. Once the seedlings were large enough to go out in the field, they would cut the flats into cubes. Each cube containing 1 plant, like cutting a tray of brownies, and then transplant the individual blocks. Very effective.
Karin Velez [00:16:56]:
On a trip to visit some European farms in 1976, Elliott saw farmers using soil blocks. These blocks looked just like what he was transplanting out into the field, but they were created before the plants were even seeded. The blocks they were using were pretty large, so Elliott convinced a British manufacturer to make a mini model for germination purposes and to make similarly sized pins to poke holes in the tops ops of the larger blocks. So the germinated seedlings could quickly be potted up. The square block into the square hole. This was now a complete seedling starting system. The key to most of this though is to get the Potting soil consistency right, which is what I struggled with the one and only time that I tried this system. The original mix from Elliott recommended Tific blend of peat moss, compost, garden soil, sand or perlite, fertilizer, and lime.
Karin Velez [00:17:53]:
I got it completely wrong, and my blocks It never really came together. So are you using the pro mix actual potting soil or using the seed starting mix?
Kathy Gormandy [00:18:04]:
So I'm using that potting soil, the organic potting soil. I sift it because it's a little chunky for these tiny mini blocks. If you were doing larger blocks, like, say, if you were starting bigger seeds like tomatoes or peppers, you would wanna use a larger soil block, then the chunkiness probably wouldn't be an issue. But we sift it to make it more fine so that it doesn't clog up our mini blocker.
Karin Velez [00:18:26]:
And then you're taking it and you're making it a how damp of a Distancy, is it when you are wet
Kathy Gormandy [00:18:31]:
wet cement. So so I get it pretty moist, and then I I fill my blocker and I you know, some people just scoop their blocker up and and just Plug it down, but I like to go in with my fingers and make sure I feel like all of my cells are evenly filled. It's because sometimes the corners don't always get that way, so I just Plug it down on my tray, and then I go, ta da. Yay. And then I move on to the next one, and it's it's gratifying.
Karin Velez [00:18:55]:
Okay. So maybe I've been overthinking the whole starter soil thing. I use Pro Mix for all my seedlings, so why should I not try it for soil blocking?
Kathy Gormandy [00:19:03]:
Yeah. There's so many recipes out there, and there I don't know that there's any one right way. You kinda just have to figure out what way you like. I think the convenience of the pro mix is it for me. And then we just sift out the chunks, and then, some recipes will say you can Add different amendments like, greensand and rock phosphate. In the past, I've not done that. I've just done straight pro mix, and it worked just fine. But with my soil test this past year, it suggested that I need a couple of those minerals.
Kathy Gormandy [00:19:30]:
I said, you know what? Green sand and rock phosphate, they're going in my soil box, so then They go in my field, and that's the way that I can amend my soil without actually having to go out to the field and amend my soil. It's already in my soil block.
Karin Velez [00:19:41]:
So Okay. So then you're taking the pro mix and or whatever mix you're using and putting it into another container to to wet it down? Yeah.
Kathy Gormandy [00:19:49]:
Just like a big Tupperware, Rubbermaid, anything you got, anything you can get in there and just add water and mix
Karin Velez [00:19:55]:
it up. And then as you're taking the soil block, are you and I think this might have been where I sort of messed up is I had it all in my also, I think there was a lot of sand in the the Soil, the starting mix that I was using at that time, this was years before I even discovered the product.
Kathy Gormandy [00:20:12]:
Hold together. It did
Karin Velez [00:20:13]:
it did not hold together at all. So but I think what What I had been told to do was have it in the container and then take the soil blocker and press it down into it and then just bring it back up and And pop it out. But you said you like to to tap it in there.
Kathy Gormandy [00:20:29]:
Yeah. Yeah. Because if I if you just pick it up, it could just fall out. If it's got too much sand or if it's a little bit Wetter than is ideal. So I'll I'll mush it in there, and then I'll kinda scoop it out, and then I'll press it down and make sure. I don't have any ear pockets, and then everything's full. And then I'll go and, you know, plug it out onto my tray.
Karin Velez [00:20:49]:
Okay. So then once it out is out on your Your tray, then it's just time to pop your seeds in.
Kathy Gormandy [00:20:54]:
Right? You got it. That's it. And the seeds that we plant in these are so tiny. Think like poppy seed muffin, like Those tiny little poppy seeds, it's that small. So we actually use a toothpick, to pick up each seed, and The best way to wet the end of the toothpick is with your spit. Saliva has just, like, the right viscosity for that little seed to stick to the end of the toothpick. And then when you touch it to the center of your soil block, you kinda give that toothpick a little twist, and then the seed stays put. You don't have to bury the seeds.
Kathy Gormandy [00:21:23]:
All they have to do is have good Soil contact with the surface of your soil block.
Karin Velez [00:21:28]:
Once you've got them sort of planted and they're and or seeded and they're in their little their little container Yeah. How about water? How frequently are you water you're immediately putting it on this on the heat mat, I'm assuming.
Kathy Gormandy [00:21:40]:
Yeah. So because you're planting them right after you make them, the blocks Still pretty moist. You don't actually have to water them until they germinate. An optional step, but that I really like to do is to sprinkle vermiculite over the top. It just helps to kinda keep that soil moisture level even. I I call it sprinkling the fairy dust. So when we have a class, I'm like, alright. It's time to sprinkle your fairy dust, And everybody sprinkles the top of their little soil block tray, and then, I like to cover it.
Kathy Gormandy [00:22:10]:
I use plastic wrap because It's on hand, and everybody has it, and it's easy. Lisa Mason Ziegler suggests using wide beef burlap. You don't wanna use a lot of plastics. That's another good option. You have to watch Though, because once germination starts, if you let it go too long, those little seedlings can kinda go in between the leaves of the burlap, and then you go to take the burlap off and you can rip your seedlings out. So that's the downside. You gotta pay attention. With the plastic wrap, you also have to pay attention because once you have that first sign of germination, the plastic needs to come off, Or else it's gonna stay too damp, and you're gonna get dampening off, and everything's gonna die.
Kathy Gormandy [00:22:43]:
So as long as you're kind of babysitting them, watching them every day, Like like on our snapdragons, we do our vermiculite. We do our plastic wrap. It goes on the heat map. By about day 3 or 4, The first little tiny signs of germination are showing, and, plastic comes off. And from there, then we bottom water. We just pour a little water into the bottom of the tray. Let it all soak up. Give it about 5 minutes.
Kathy Gormandy [00:23:08]:
If there's still water left, then we pour that excess water out because we don't want it to stay soggy. But if it's soaked up, like, in 30 seconds and there was no water left, that it needs more water. So you pour it in, let it sit, and then pour out the excess, and that's enough. Once a day. Just once a day watering on that. It goes under the lights once we have 50% germination. So when when half of those blocks Got something going on even if it's a little something, then it comes off of the heat and under the lights, and you want the lights to be really close. 2 inches, Three inches max.
Kathy Gormandy [00:23:40]:
If it's further away than that, then your plants get leggy because they're stretching to reach for the light. And leggy plants are not healthy plants. They tend to get floppy and fall over and not do well. We want short, stocky plants. So I say keep the lights low so your plants can be short and stocky. And then as the plants get a little taller, you can raise the lights up a little bit at a time. And then probably about 4 weeks or so in the case of Snapdragons, they're ready to start hardening off.
Karin Velez [00:24:14]:
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Karin Velez [00:24:55]:
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Karin Velez [00:25:49]:
You can get your own lower priced seeds and get free shipping on orders over $75 while supporting this podcast by going to just grow something podcast.com/seeds to place your order from True Leaf Market. So Kathy is doing things a little bit differently than the usual method for soil blocking. In many instances, small seedlings like those started in the mini blocks Are potted up at least once into a bigger soil block before heading out into the garden. But Kathy works her flower seedlings a little bit differently. And You're not potting these up at all prior to putting them right out into the garden? Correct.
Kathy Gormandy [00:26:27]:
Oh. You can if if the Circumstances prevent you from getting them into the garden in a timely manner and they are really getting too big for the blocks, Then there's a couple different things you can do. You can fertilize them while they're in the blocks because the PRO MIX, it doesn't have a whole lot to feed them. And when they're just getting started, they only need a lot of food. But if they're gonna be sitting there a while, they do. So you'll start to see they'll turn a little bit yellow. They won't be as vibrant green. You're like, okay.
Kathy Gormandy [00:26:55]:
Karin Velez [00:26:56]:
Well, that's interesting to know that they can go out in such a I mean, I can imagine those plants are probably very small in that little block before putting them outside.
Kathy Gormandy [00:27:05]:
Yep. Okay. Yeah. I'll usually transplant them out at about 2 or 3 inches. Most sources you'll read say 3 inches, but I don't always wait that long. Okay. I kinda press the a little bit. But We tend to have milder weather around here, so I can get away with it.
Kathy Gormandy [00:27:21]:
But but you could wait till it got a little bit more robust. It would be fine as long as you're feeding it in the blocks, you know, if
Karin Velez [00:27:27]:
it started to turn yellow. Well, okay. That's fantastic to know because I mean, I just always assumed that I was gonna need to have multiple sizes of blocks because I know they have, you know, the next size Up in c blockers would allow for, like, a 3 quarter inch hole. So you're literally just dropping that little c block into the next larger block If you needed to. Needed it.
Kathy Gormandy [00:27:49]:
Okay. Yeah. Super interesting. I have heard of a flower farmer that does this, when she's growing lisianthus, Which is a very slow growing plant start from seed. We grew some from seed this year. Usually, I buy plugs, but I got plugs and seed just to see What's all the fuss about, Will? It's it's extremely slow. And she grows in Canada, and so she can't plant them out when we would normally be able to plant them out. So they needed To be potted up.
Kathy Gormandy [00:28:14]:
So she does pot them up into the larger soil block that has that little indention. So, basically, you just take your 3 quarter inch block, drop it down in, And continue to grow it on from there. So that is an option if you need it.
Karin Velez [00:28:26]:
Yeah. I mean, that would be the same then if we're using it for too, because it would depend on the size of the plant for sure. You know, the smaller blocks like that would be good for for very small seeded Things like lettuces and that sort of thing. But once you get up into the squashes and the cucumbers, you're looking at larger seeds. But you can start in a larger soil block at that point too. So There may not be need any kind of a need to actually have to pot up.
Kathy Gormandy [00:28:50]:
Okay. Yep. Yep. I probably just start those in a bigger block.
Karin Velez [00:28:53]:
Which is what I have. I think I have I wanna say mine is An inch inch and a half, maybe? I have to now I have to go dig dig and find it. I know I have it still. I'm gonna have to to try to to give it A shot again because this is interesting to me. And, I mean, also, just in in terms of not using as much plastic, trying to use different seed trays, especially if they're gonna break down on you, you know, over the years. And I like the idea of the air pruning of the roots. You know, there's a lot less transplant shock when it comes to that. So and the space saving aspect of it.
Karin Velez [00:29:26]:
I mean, how many home gardeners are trying to start seeds, you know, in in their house, and you just you don't Have that much room to be able to do it. I'm starting thousands of seeds, and they're in my basement. And I I don't have the room to Start, like, all my brassicas and then move into all of my tomatoes because there's that overlap, and I'm running out of space. So because they're going out way earlier into the greenhouse than they're supposed to. So I like the idea of the space saving thing. Well, Well, I would assume also in addition to the classes and stuff that you're doing and the upcoming bar, which I just I love that idea. That is just fantastic. I would also assume that you are showcasing your book also in the store.
Karin Velez [00:30:12]:
Yes. Have to drop that little Plug there for David's Farm. I my grandkids all got copies of that when it first came out. Talk about your book a little bit again.
Kathy Gormandy [00:30:21]:
Yeah. So I wrote a children's book, that was inspired by my little one kinda just growing up in the field with me, getting his hands dirty, learning about soil, and, what it Takes to make healthy soil as far as compost and chicken manure for fertilizer, and then planting the seed and tending the seed and watching it grow All the way to harvest and then being able to enjoy that with your family, your community, kinda just the the nuts and bolts of why we do what we do, but From a child's eyes, and it really was just meant to kinda encourage little ones to get outside Or to encourage the the big ones to take their little ones outside and let them be in the garden and explore and just kinda see all that magic through their eyes And and teach them a little bit of something because that's where it starts. And then, you know, that's that's what kinda cultivates that joy Of growing, whether it's vegetables in your garden to feed your family or cut flowers to to gift your friends, just and being outdoors. And soil is healthy. You know, there are microbes in the soil that are good for you. They are they boost your serotonin levels, and, They one of our our slogans for our farm is growing joy, and I really feel like that kind of sums that up is We're we're growing joy in ourselves by the process of what we do and in others by helping them to enjoy The fruits of our labor. So it's just another way to kind of get put that growing joy in there.
Karin Velez [00:31:52]:
I love it. I love it. And so they can find it shop. They can find it online and on Amazon still as well?
Kathy Gormandy [00:31:58]:
Karin Velez [00:31:59]:
Thank you for this. I love this conversation. Where Can people find you and follow you and see everything that's going on with The farm and with the shop and your classes and everything else. Give me all the details.
Kathy Gormandy [00:32:16]:
Sure. So we're on Instagram at PK Farm Flowers. We're on Facebook. Let's see. We've got websites for the farm and for the studio. So, www.artisinal bloom, b l u m e, .com for the studio and, www.pkfarmlifeforfarm. So you can kinda tune in to see A little bit of everything, and I do kinda like to try to show, you know, the back end of things, what what we're doing here, the getting dirty, the the not so pretty. We We don't show all the not so pretty.
Kathy Gormandy [00:20:58]:
You know? We do, you know, give it our highlight reel, but I I like people to know what it takes For to get them their flowers so the so they're they really have an understanding and appreciation for local flowers. And to build that community, I always like to say flower friends are the best friends.
Karin Velez [00:33:19]:
So what do you think about soil blocking? Does it sound like something you'll try? For me, it makes sense to try again, especially now that I realize I can likely use the same potting mix I've already been using. The soil blocker I have is, I believe, either a 1 and a half inch or 2 inch block. So probably good enough for starting most of my larger seeds in. I may consider getting a smaller one for my little seeds like tomatoes and potting them up into my larger blocks, but we'll see. I just think it really will take up less space, use less soil, and Help eliminate a little bit of transplant shock so my seedlings will take off even faster in the garden. I may try some side by side comparisons this year to see. If you opt to try soil blocking, let me know. I would love to see your progress.