The Urban Farmer: How To Start Lettuce in Micro Soil Blocks and Why to Do It That Way (FSFS44)

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Today’s episode focuses on starting and transplanting Salanova via micro soil blocks.

Curtis will talk about how he starts Salanova lettuce using the blocks and the advantages for doing so.

We also run a quick time and cost analysis of starting lettuce in blocks versus cell trays to show the comparison. 

At the end of the episode I go over a recipe to use for the micro blocker and some basic techniques for using it. 

Notes from this episode:

If you want to learn more about Curtis Stone and urban farming, then check out Curtis’ book, The Urban Farmer, and his course, Profitable Urban Farming.

Micro or Mini Soil Blocker

Soil Mix Recipe:

  • 4 Parts Peat
  • 1 Part Compost
    • Both screened through a 1/4″ mesh screen.
  • Approximately 2 parts water is needed to hydrate the mix.
  • Rock dust, lime, fertilizer, other amendments – OPTIONAL
  • Mix all ingredients. 
  • The mix should have the consistency of thick oatmeal.  It should hold a ball shape in your and and not be dripping water unless you squeeze the ball.
  • Give the water at least 15 minutes to absorb completely. 
  • After seeding the blocks cover with a layer of fine perilite or vermiculite.

Currently the blocker costs about $24.00 on Amazon

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Learn More from Curtis Stone:

Read The Urban Farmer book

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2 replies on “The Urban Farmer: How To Start Lettuce in Micro Soil Blocks and Why to Do It That Way (FSFS44)

  • Theo

    Nice work on the latest podcast Diego! I enjoyed your addition at the end, it was helpful to hear about your trials in addition to Curtis’ method. I think this type of elaboration might be useful in other DIY type episodes where y’all are talking about specific tools or methods because it allows for you or someone else to narrate the concept as you experienced it in combination with Curtis’ notes from his farm.

    I also just signed up for a monthly one dollar donation to PV through Paypal and would encourage anyone else who listens to do the same. There are many basic services we expect to pay for and do not think twice about, but online/media content is not always one of them. Funding causes and businesses online is part of this generations’ way of engaging with their friends’ endeavors and inspiring stories. Our parents would not have been able to easily ask for so many small contributions in the same way. These platforms open the door for more equitable financing of all types of pursuits.

    I have only become more and more involved in crowdfunding since starting my own business and have watched many close friends pursue non-traditional careers and contributions through the power of social networks and small donations. It is a great way to channel your aspirations through the work of others and I hope people who listen to your work have taken a few minutes to give back.

  • Emily LeVine

    Thanks for the great podcast. I have been trying various methods for starting lettuce and other small crops for many years. I have personally settled on 72 cell inserts (not plug trays, but the ones with perforated 6-pack pony packs) mostly due to the ease of transplanting. I was really surprised to hear you say that you think that transplanting micro-blocks is easy. I have transplanted spinach, lettuce, and other crops with micro blocks and been cursing up a storm trying to handle the tiny little bastards. Plus, I have to drag the flat with me the whole way. With the pony packs I can mark my bed with the bed preparation rake and then drop the packs at the appropriate intervals so that they are waiting for me as I go along transplanting. Knowing that you, too, have experimented thoroughly, I would be every interested in seeing just a short video of you transplanting from micro-blocks to see if there isn’t some small detail that I am missing that would make it as easy as you make it sound. Thanks again for taking the time to share your experiences!


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