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I love this file box and use it as my seed box. It keeps all my seeds in one place and I can always get another if needed. See below for the accessories that I use to organize all the different varieties.
Hanging File Folders with Labels
I use these in my seed box and label the variety of crop.
I like these because they keep the seed packets from sliding out of the hanging folders. I label the tap with the variety of crop. I also like these because I just pull them out when I go to sow, leaving the hanging folder in place for easy location when returning the pocket folders.
I use tongue depressors as labels in my raised beds. They naturally decompose and are a huge investment. I used cut up plastic blinds one year but they were an eyesore and blew away. You can always cut up small pieces of wood but I really like how easy the depressors are to label and put in the soil. They are the perfect size and if they don’t break down, I flip them over and use the other side for the next planting. Just make sure you don’t order ones that are “individually wrapped.” I accidentally did that one year. Also, tongue depressors are cheaper than craft sticks so you might want to go that route.
Grow Light Stand
I found a Grow Light Stand like this one recently and it was a game changer. With built in adjustable lights, it ensures that your seedlings get enough light aiding in healthier plants from the start! Or, you can find an endless supply of options for Grow Light Stands here!
Power Strip with Programmable Digital Timer
I splurged and bought this powerstrip with a built in timer when I scored my Grow Light Stand. The digital display is nice and you can set different times for each day of the week if you desire.
I prefer the 5 blocker. This size is perfect for me because I only pot up my tomato and pepper plants. This size is ideal for germinating and provides enough soil and nutrition for the month or so before I pop them in the ground or my raised beds.
Cafeteria Trays that I use to put my soil blocks on. I then place the tray directly on a heat mat until the blocks germinate. These are very sustainable. I have been using them since I started soil blocking over 4 years ago and simply wash before reusing.
I use this pan to mix my soil blocking mix with water.
I wear gloves like these when I soil block. I hand mix the soil with the water. They are fully waterproof and my gardening gloves are not. I would buy an extra pair in case they spring a hole. You can also buy at any local store. Nothing special. Your hands will thank you!
A must have for seed starting! I suggest initially investing in a larger sized one upfront because you always end up wanting to start more seedlings every following year.
These can be an investment upfront, but can be used for many different purposes including as a reservoir for bottom watering any types of plants!
Growing Trays with Drain Holes
A must have for microgreen or wheatgrass growing! Provides excellent drainage for bottom watering.
Seedling Starter Trays / Cells
If you are going the traditional seed starting route, these are a good option. You can sow smaller batches in quantities of six and they fit nicely in the seed trays. You can also easily lift for bottom watering.
It is best to get a high quality humidity dome with ventilation options. I’ve learned my lesson from buying cheap ones that easily crack. Invest upfront and you will have it for years to come!
Soils & Soil Amendments
Organic Seed Starting Mix
I can’t recommend Espoma products enough. They offer high quality, organic products, have wonderful customer service and are localish to me (based in NJ and I’m in Eastern PA).
Organic Potting Mixes
Garden Tone is a great balanced fertilizer blend that I use for both my soil blocking mix recipe, as well as an addition to general potting soil mixes to provide instant and slow release nutrition to my plants. I additionally add a few tablespoons in each hole when I transplant seedlings into the ground.
Blood Meal is a pure source of nitrogen for heavy feeding plants that require a boost of nitrogen such as crucifers and prior to planting in the spring and fall. It is an animal byproduct of the slaughtering industry and is therefore a sustainable use of a product that would otherwise go to waste. I will side dress my cabbages with this a week or so after transplanting and then again 4 weeks later.
Kelp Meal is a plant-based mild source of nitrogen. It is brown seaweed harvested from the cold sea waters. This is a beneficial amendment if you are looking for a vegan source of nitrogen in your garden.
Green Sand is mined from natural deposits of glauconite. Greensand provides iron which is an important plant nutrient. Other valuable properties of Greensand are its ability to loosen clay soils, bind sandy soils, and increase the water holding capacity of all soils. It is not considered a renewable resource as it is mined from the earth. I used this in a prior soil blocking mix but once I used it up, I found another recipe that did not require it.
Rock Phosphate is a natural mineral required by all plants. Again it is mined and not considered renewable. I also used this in a prior soil blocking mix but once I used it up, I found another recipe that did not require it.
Garden Lime is a natural plant supplement to raise soil pH. I use this in my current soil blocking mix.
Perlite is great for Seed Starting or blending a custom potting mix. It’s non-toxic and helps loosen heavy soils, preventing compaction. It also holds water and nutrients well, and will not rot or mold. I use this in my current soil blocking mix.
Vermiculite is a similar option to perlite. It is inert and can help ward off fungus to prevent damping off. It can also be sprinkled on top of seed trays to retain moisture. It is best to wear a mask when using as the dusk can be a respiratory irritant.
Sphagnum Peat Moss improves soil aeration and moisture retention. I usually buy this product in bulk at a garden center and make sure the brand is approved for organic growing. Peat is not considered renewable because it is mined from ancient bogs. An alternative that is considered more sustainable is coconut coir. I use peat in my soil blocking because the consistency lends itself better than coir.
I really like this Coast of Maine Lobster Compost and it’s much cheaper at local garden centers that carry it. The consistency is nice and it works well for my soil blocking mix and as a booster when I’m mixing up some potting soil.
These Tubtrugs are the bomb! I use them for everything from mixing soils to hauling zucchini. They hold up well and wash out easily. I recommend getting three different sizes. If they don’t get used for gardening, they are great as a makeshift cooler when entertaining!
Plastic Storage Tub
These storage tubs are great for storing soils and soil blocking mix. Please don’t buy this many. One will do! I like that I can either snap on the lid to keep critters out when the soil is dry or set it on top until it dries out so it doesn’t get moldy.
These Micro-Tip Pruners are perfect for delicate harvests! I use them for herbs and some flowers. I was bummed last summer when one of the blades fell out during harvesting my dill heads for seed saving but I checked out the warranty and it qualified. All I had to do was submit a picture and I got a new pair in less than 3 weeks!
Nothing like a sharp pair of scissors to have handy for everything from cutting twine to trimming lettuce when you can’t find your harvesting knife.
Super Pruner / Loppers
I really like these Super Pruner/Loppers. They don’t break the bank and work well for most light tasks in the garden from cutting back woody perennials to thin fruit tree branches.
If you need a pruner with more versatility to reach higher places, these are a great option!
These Pruning Shears are a great quality for the price and do the job.
Folding Pruning Saw
I love this Folding Pruning Saw. I have to hide it from my partner when he comes up to the garden so it doesn’t “walk away”. It was a gift from my mother when I first started gardening and I haven’t had to do a thing to it!
I’ve had this hand trowel since the beginning of my gardening days and it never fails to disappoint. Comfortable and durable. Even if left out in the rain and snow…
I love this cultivator. I use it ALL THE TIME to break up crusty or compacted soil prior to direct seed sowing or transplanting.
If you’ve got deep rooted weeds like me in your garden, this weeder is the tool for you!
Set of Hand Tools
Or, buy all of these hand tools as a set!
Getting a proper read on the soil temperature in your garden is key for successful germination. I like this soil thermometer. It doesn’t break the bank and provides accurate readings.
It’s a good idea to clean and condition your tools before the beginning of the gardening season. I use isopropyl alcohol for general cleaning and soap and water for gunkier cleanings. Then it’s a good idea to apply a thin coat of linseed oil like this on your metal tools to prevent rusting and keep the metal in good shape for years to come.
Jute twine like this is helpful for general gardening tasks. It’s great for lashing teepees, creating mesh for vining plants and tying up thicker-stemmed plants. Plus they are biodegradable!
These coated reusable garden ties are ideal for plants with more sensitive stalks since they don’t cut into the material. They are also aesthetically pleasing if you don’t like to see ripped up shirts blowing in the breeze as tie ups. Ha ha!
This nitrile gardening gloves are great for every day garden chores. They protect your hands while being nice and breathable on hot sunny days. Wash and air dry.
Gardening Tool Belt
This handy accessory is so worth it. I really like this belt because it’s adjustable, lightweight and the price was right. I store my nippers, my phone, and twine, as well as other items depending on what I’m working on in here.