Saturday, January 2, 2010
It truly is a happy anniversary here at Potting Blocks Research Farm in Alpine, Oregon. It was here, 2 years ago today, that I launched the most popular website on soil blocking. Why did I do it? What was the story behind the web site? It all started as a need to compile more information and specific instructions about soil blocking in one convenient place--the Internet. Many of us know Elliot Coleman of Maine "broke ground" on soil blocking in his famous book "The New Organic Grower". I, too, read that book 9 years ago, and started right from the beginning with soil blockers after I completed my organic farm apprenticing in New Mexico. We had to use Jiffy peat pots back then, and I really hated them. They were not the way to start seeds, but lesson learned and I started training myself with soil blockers. It was an immediate success in the little town of Hot Springs, Montana, the sight of my very first greenhouse business. People would come day and night to see the demonstrations, bring me seeds to plant, and buy soil block vegetable starts. They would load them up in recycled containers. It began to occur to me that not all the information was out there for advanced soil blocking. I had collected books, and magazines, and obscure information from libraries that helped improve on earlier techniques. I even innovated many techniques and systems of transport and transplant. I began to sell seedling starts in soil blocks just like they're sold in Europe, on wooden flats, where the customer is responsible for their own container. I did, however, provide recycled food containers in many shapes and sizes for them to use. Complete transplanting instructions included with every order, I had them hooked on "European Style Transplants".
After we sold the farm in Montana to move to warmer pastures in Oregon, we pretty much dumped every last cent into our current little "farmette". After my last stint at carpentry to pay down some bills, I had to get growing transplants again. What happened instead was the creation of this soil block website. In all of December of 2007, I formulated a huge informative website and published it in January 1. 2008. To my surprise it was an immediate success. People all over the world were reading it and learning more about their own soil blockers. Then came the first timers, who asked if they could buy them from me! I never turned anybody away, I just asked if they would wait a week or two and I'd deliver. I had to find my sources here in the states first, but now I buy in bulk shipments from the manufacturer in England. From that point on, I have been importing soil blockers and selling them online. All thanks to each and every reader of my website! Because, every hit helps me get higher in the Google rankings. Thus far, this has been a success due to readers and customers. Very little advertising in Google Adwords account for the only exposure I get. But now, magazines, newspapers, and garden centers are seeking me out for interviews and workshops. I still love doing a soil block demonstration just like it was my first time. I still love them as the solution to landfill-bound plastics, and incredible growth potential. I am building a retail center for seed starting equipment and vegetable and herb transplants by 2011. The customers have proven the demand for this equipment, as transplant sales are up 40% across the country and home gardeners are looking to do it themselves. They want a seed starting tool that will last a lifetime with no more aggravating plastic to throw around. What the world is seeking is a simple tool that will make transplant pots without the need to buy plastic, and knowledge on how to grow the best food plants possible. What they have noticed on the Internet is a place that delivers service, quality, knowledge, free consultations, and friendly sincere help. Just as I had longed for many years ago. Yet, my prices are way cheaper than when I had to buy the whole set! I have sold myself on the value of PottingBlocks.com. I hope you find it just as useful and that you, too, will support the good work we're doing here by purchasing a soil blocker from "me".
May peace be with you in the New Year and forever. Remember, the Potting Block Guru is always here to help.