Soil Block Maker

I decided to start my own seeds this year instead of buying plants where possible.  My main reasons:

  • Wider choice of plant varieties;
  • Control over seed quality;
  • Gain more control over plant size when I want to transplant (in the past I’ve purchased the plants early to have the greatest choice of quality plant, but then sometimes have leggy or pot bound plants later when its time to transplant);
  • Have the opportunity to start seeds indoors throughout the summer to have transplants throughout the season (letting me, for instance, have lettuce transplants when soil is too warm for seeds to germinate outside, or to get a jump start on fall plantings).

2″ Soil Block Maker from Johnny Seeds

After researching my options, I decided to use a soil block maker for starting seeds.  This lets me avoid plastic waste, and seems more sustainable than peat pellets.  And unlike either of those, soil block makers doesn’t end up with pot-bound plants, since the roots hit air space between each block and goes dormant.  This is supposed to significantly reduce transplant shock.

For more on the advantages of soil block makers and for a good recipe for a soil mix to use with the soil block maker, check out the online excerpt from Eliot Coleman’s book The New Organic Grower.

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About mwolske

I'm a Senior Research Scientist in Community Informatics at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois.
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