The tomatoes are up!  Actually they are much bigger than this now, since I’ve had this post in my queue for over a week.  Yeah, my bad.  I’ve been so behind in posting lately, I probably could post 24 hours straight and still have a lot of catching up to do.    You wouldn’t believe how many super cool “spring” photos and draft posts I have just sitting here in my draft folder.  Hmmm, maybe I should put out a help wanted ad  that says something like:  “Wanted, full time blogger to share all that happens here at Little Homestead in the City. Can’t pay but willing to barter.  😉

On the gardening front

It’s that time of year again – it’s seed sowing and soil block makin’ time.    We’ve been making soil block for over sheesh, 15 years now.  It’s so easy to sow!  We find that soil blocks really contribute to our successful succession turn around here at our intensive micro farm.  Not to mention soil blockin’ is a good excuse to play in the dirt.

Come on raise your hands, how many of you are addicted to soil blocks.  I have a problem is when I start making soil blocks I just can’t stop a few dozen turn into a couple hundred.  So there, I’ve started now it’s your turn to share.

Here’s a previous entries on making an using soil blocks for your reading pleasure.

On the weather front

After a couple of exceptional warm and beautiful days, it’s raining again!  What a blessing the rain is!  We are in serious trouble, with water….

Now that LA’s mayor is talking about restrictions and rate hikes and our Governor declares drought emergency we are going to need all the rain we can get from now till July (end of our rainy season)

The LA Times also reported that we are rainfall is considerably behind normal (19″)  and last years total of 13″.  So far this rainy season we’ve gotten a measly 8″.  That came as a shock to us because with the Fabulous February storms that dumped over 6″ of rain here on the urban homestead we thought that was sure to bump up our totals.

Anyhow,  with the rainy weather, today was a good day to pack seeds – thanks to you who have placed your order.

Don’t forget if you need seeds for your garden this year, check out our new website featuring open pollinated, safe and secure seeds.

Also, it was an exceptional day for our social network   We couldn’t help but keep checking in!  It had it’s biggest member day to date – over 100 people signed up in less than a 12 hour period.

It was funny,  because I put together the FG newsletter in the morning after feeding the animals and had to keep revising the numbers throughout the day till I was able send it out after dinner.  I started with the blurb stating “FG tops 3,000 members” then 3025, 3050,  3080, 3100 and so on till 3,200

A warm welcome to you all and we look forward to your contribution to this site as we not only grow gardens but cultivate community.

Happy (almost) spring ya’ll, we look forward to another year growing along with you.


  1. Garden Shed says:

    You are not alone with the rainfall. I live in Australia and parts of our country have been in drought for ten years now. Funnily though other parts of the country have been flooded in the past few weeks. Go figure.

  2. Lizz says:

    The seedlings look so promising!

    So much to do with our two hands.

  3. Daphne says:

    I’m trying soil blocks for the first time this year. So I’m not sure whether I like them or not yet. I’ll know by summer. I love the idea of them though. I hate all the little plastic pots.

  4. DoubleD says:

    A gardening friend of mine is doing soil blocks for the first time this year. I confess that I use the plastic pots – but reuse them over and over again. They rinse off in a bucket of warm sudsy water very well and if not manhandled will last a very very long time. I am intrigued by the soil blocks though and am watching my friends experience (and now yours) carefully.

  5. Judy says:

    Ah, the tomato seedlings are up!! Before long, Justin will be planting them in the garden…. Just wondering how many different varieties of tomatoes are grown on the urban homestead every year? Do you stick with the varieties that you’ve found grow well or do you still experiment with new varieties from time to time?

    I also hope that you receive plenty of rain to help fill the reservoirs this year…. hopefully, this will help to keep any wild fires in check as well. To me that would be so scarey!

    I haven’t tried the soil blocks but I’ve been reading about how great they are on many gardening blogs…. I might just have to break down and buy one 🙂 My garden buddy up in Washington State (Sinfonian) has me convinced!! I think it would be better to make my own soil blocks versus buying these little flat peat pellets that I’ve been using. I can see where the seedling would get a much better start in the soil blocks versus the peat pellets that have absolutely no soil nutrition… I have to transplant seedlings (or pot up) pretty quickly that are started in peat pellets or the leaves will begin to turn yellowish…

    Going to Peddler’s Wagon now to check out the soil block maker 🙂

  6. Judy says:

    OK, in looking at the soil block maker from an investment standpoint (in comparison to the peat pellets I’ve been using)….. here’s my conclusion:

    25 peat pellets — price $2.99 (12 cents each) The peat pellets are made from coconut coir so there is no soil nutritional value and transplants must be potted up to containers with potting soil or Mel’s Mix from the garden. If I don’t pot them up, the first set of “real” leaves will begin to turn yellowish. Also, there is the additional expense of having to buy containers to pot the peat pellets up to.

    Soil Block Maker — $34 I can make unlimited soil blocks from the soil that I have right in my garden! So the seedlings have immediate access to the nutrients in my soil…. no need to pot them up to keep their leaves from turning yellow as they will if they remain in the peat pellets. If I just do a comparison of how many soil blocks I would need to make to offset the cost of the soil block maker (in comparison to the price of the peat pellets), I would need to make 283 soil blocks.

    Well, for me, I can re-coop the investment pretty quickly. For example, I have already started 48 tomato seedlings for this upcoming growing season in peat pellets. I still have all of my other veggies that I need to get started — there’s no telling how many plants that will be!

    And, I like to start almost all of my seedlings inside — even those that most people just direct sow as seeds into the garden. I do this because I just hate it when I direct sow and then have a square in my garden that doesn’t germinate LOL

    So the bottom line is that the cost of the soil block maker will be re-cooped at least within the first year and that is just based on the price of the peat pellets. This isn’t including the potting soil that I usually buy to “pot up” things like tomato seedlings that do not enjoy prolonged growing in just coconut coir (what the peat pellets are made from).

    So Anais, I just placed my order for the soil block maker LOL!!!

  7. Shirley says:

    Thank you for the update on Justin’s tomatoe seedlings and the link with the soil recipe. I had tried the soil block maker after receiving it last fall. However did not have the soil right. It worked, just wasn’t as good as it will be now.

  8. Claudia says:

    Regarding your water shortage, I read either last year or the year before that you were installing those big long water collectors from New Zealand for Australia. Did you install them and are they full from all your rain?

  9. SPRING | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] tomatoes from the soil blocks in the greenhouse to larger pots […]

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