Cinnamon water to help reduce algae growth during germination
March 15, 2021
Can you tell the difference between the soil blocks on the left and the ones on the right? We did a fun little experiment and I’m pleasantly surprised if the results! Gardeners, if you have trouble with algae on your soil during seed starting season, you may want to give this a try! While algae is usually more of an annoying issue than a problematic one, if the algae spreads enough it will compete for nutrients with your seedlings, stunting their growth. Our organic solution has always been to sprinkle cinnamon, but that can suffocate small seedlings and doesn’t get into all the nooks and crannies, especially with soil blocks.
This solution ironically came to me while making a simple syrup! My brain said: “hey silly, why not infuse water with a heavy dose of cinnamon so you can spray it on?” Regular powdered cinnamon would clog our mister. But cinnamon STICKS wouldn’t. So, we simmered down 4 cups of water and 4 cinnamon sticks for about 20 minutes, let it cool, and then poured it into our mist bottle which we used frequently on our soil blocks (during the germination stage. After seedlings reach germination stage, let the medium dry out slightly in between waterings and switch to bottom water only). As you can see the tray that we used the cinnamon spray on (on the right) looks much better while algae is forming on the tray on the left (the control tray).
As we have completely eliminated peat from our seed starting and growing (see more about that in this post), we had to seek out an alternative (previously we were using the Vermont Compost Company's Fort Vee mix to soil block). This led us to develop a couple of peat-free soil blocking recipes.
Hey, farmer/gardener/soil curator! Been looking for an inexpensive way to increase the level of beneficial microbes, slow release nitrogen and minerals? Have you heard of mesophyllic fertilizer? No? Neither had we, until we stumbled across this recipe...