Friday, March 20, 2009

Soil Blocking

I have been using Jiffy Peat Pellets to start my plants. The cost of peat pellets adds up quickly. Walmart has 25 peat pellets for about $4. I recently stocked up on peat pellets, but when I run out, I will be in search of the 2" soil block maker. The cost for this sweet tool is around $32.00 and it can be used over and over.

Our weather hasn't been cooperating and I have been getting nervous that my large plant starts were not going to survive in the peat pellets much longer. I continued my quest for knowledge of how to deal with this problem. I wanted to minimize transplant shock as much as possible since I have lost plants in the past after transplanting them. I found a solution to my problem HERE with pictures posted by a guy known as SoCalDan. Go take a look... check out his homemade 4" soil blocker that was made using legos.

This guy had a brilliant idea - and let me tell you, it works! The cost of the 4" soil block maker is around $129.00. The cost of this home-made 4" version doesn't have much of a dollar amount associated with it. It cost about the price of a new sponge (I used the green scrubby part from a new sponge) and a few minutes of listening to my 7-year-old son exclaiming that his legos don't belong in the dirt (which is normally the case).

Here is a picture of my homemade 4" soil block system based on Dan's idea:



Transplanting a seedling:



Covering the seedling with soil:



Check out the directions to using the "real" soil block system. This PDF also give you the list of ingredients you need to make soil blocks that will hold together well. I used dampened potting to make my 4" soil blocks because that was all I had on hand at the time. It worked, but I don't know how well or how long they will hold together. You can read more about using regular potting soil with soil block makers HERE.

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