Soil blocking is not a new thing. It's been around for thousands of years. Yet, head to most gardens and nurseries and there are plastic pots, plastic trays, plastic, plastic, plastic. Which seems super convenient except the plastic needs to be cleaned and stored. The plastic eventually breaks down and needs to be replaced. Talk about designed obsolesce!? I don't see many folks jumping up and down to make all this plastic go away. Even if the plastic is reused, my point is that we didn't need it in the first place.
Welcome to the world of soil blocking!
No plastic! Use reclaimed wood to construct trays to hold the soil blocks. Quick and easy up potting and transplanting. No errands to run for more plastic pony packs.
Our Basic Recipe
- 12 quarts peat + 12 quarts compost + 4 quarts perlite + 3 quarts worm castings. This recipe is for 1 1/2" and larger blocks
- Sand can be added to increase drainage
- Vermiculite can be substituted for the perlite
- Coir can be substituted for the peat if you prefer
- Reserve some of the dry mixture in case you add too much water
- Wet with water until very most yet will form a ball yet drips lots of water when the ball is squeezed
- Allow mixture to hydrate for at least a day or so
- Soil blocks do not need to be watered the first day or two
- When watering soil blocks use care to water frequently but lightly with a misting nozzle or automated misting system
- Blocks that have dried out completely can be nearly impossible to moisten
- Soil blockers are available from Johnny's Seeds. Our "set" is a 3/4" soil blocker for starting all those tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, 1 1/2" soil blocker for lettuces, greens, spinach, and more, 2" soil blocker is the most frequently used at 107 Garden as it's good for multi-plant blocks with beets, onions, and turnips, and 4" soil blocker for up-potting from the 2" to the 4". Then we have two sets of 3/4" cubic pins, two sets of long pins, and two sets of short pins. Why so many pins? We do not have a local supplier for these items so having a backup means we are always read to go.
- Eliot Coleman (1995). The New Organic Grower. Chelsea Green Publishing Company. ISBN: 9780930031756.
- Dramm watering nozzles We use the 1/2 gallon per minute, 1 gallon per minute, and 2 gallon per minute Fogg-it nozzles. The 1/2 gallon per minute can be used for all soil block watering...it might take longer but as the seedlings grow but in a pinch it'll work just fine. Next season add a 1 or 2 gallons per minute nozzle to your arsenal. As a side note we use the Aluminum 400 water breaker for hand watering. It's made in the USA and will last forever with care!
- Special thanks to Dale, Nia, Kiki, and Steph for all the love and support!
- Aaron Glasson, Permaculture Velocity logo
- Music: Hollow Grove by Doxent Zsigmond featuring Josh Woodward, digccmixter, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0
- And to all those podcasters out there sharing good information on podcasting for those of us just getting going with this podcast thing! Thank you!