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How to Make Soil Mix for Your Soil Blocks

By on March 15, 2012

Start your seeds in soil blocks and let them grow without transplant shock.

Soil blocks let you germinate seeds and grow seedlings all in one spot!

When you grow with seed blocks there are no seed trays, no shifting to pots, and minimal risk of transplant shock. How can you do it? Use one of our Soil Blockers to make soil cubes that stand alone.

Tricia shows how simple it is to work with a Soil Blocker mechanical device in our video, Soil Blocks.

You can’t rely on traditional potting soil to make soil blocks—it doesn’t have the right consistency and the blocks will fall apart.

Soil Mix Ingredients

The mixture for soil blocks needs to be able to maintain a solid shape when damp.

Tools For Creating the Soil Mix

  • Sieve to screen all the soil mixture ingredients through a fine mesh, to have the light texture that germinating seeds need.
  • Potting tray where you can measure and dampen the soil mix.
  • Respirator to wear while working with fine powders.

Recipes for Soil Mix in Soil Blocks

Soil blocks are better known in Europe than in the U.S., so many of the recipes we have come from Great Britain. Let’s start with the easy one.
Quickroot seed starting mix
Quickroot

Let us do the soil mixing for you. We’ve already formulated an organic soilless seed starting mixture to use in Speedling and Plantel trays, and it works equally well with the Soil Blockers.

This marvelous mixture is called Quickroot and we offer it in 1 cubic foot bags or large 54 cubic foot bags.

The ingredients include coconut coir fiber, vermiculite (no detected asbestos), organic green waste compost, bone meal, and soft rock phosphate.

Peat moss based soil recipes

David Tresemer, author of the Ladbrooke Soil Blocker Booklet Transplants in Soil Blocks, has a favorite recipe:

4 parts peat moss
1 part well-rotted compost
1 handful of ground calcium limestone for every cubic foot of mixture
1 handful of ground basalt rock powder

Thalassa Cruso recommends:

2 parts peat moss
1 part vermiculite
1 part good garden soil (if you have that “chocolate cake” kind of friable soil)
small amount of clay dust as a binder

For any of these recipes or our Quickroot, moisten the soil to a slurry consistency as Tricia demonstrates in our video, then pack the Soil Blocker mechanism and you’ll have your own soil blocks, ready to receive your seeds.


For more information on soil mixtures and soil blocking, get a copy of the Ladbrooke Soil Blocker Booklet Transplants in Soil Blocks.

Are you ready to try soil blocks for your seeds this year?

  Comments (9)

L

My husband and I and our 3 young chdliren (3,6, 8) bought our second home last year.It sits on 3 acres in west. PA.-about a 1/2 acre is wooded.I have always been a gardening enthusiast, although I still have quite a lot to learn-especially in the area of organic gardening.I am, however, constantly reading up to learn as much as possible. My hope is to start a small scale organic veg. business over the next 2 years.There are quite a few farmers markets in the area where I could at least get my start. I’m also interested in selling to restaraunts in the area. Finally, most of the responsibilities of the business would fall on me as my husband works full time outside the home.I am currently a stay at home mom and believe that this would be a great way for me to do what I love and believe in while I continue to stay home with my children. Any advice,experiences or resources anyone can share would be very much appreciated.

Posted by Lis on Jun. 14, 2012 at 5:28:51 AM

M

Lis:
I found a wonderful book written by a guy in Maine who is doing exactly what you are talking about doing.  It is called “The New Organic Grower” by Elliot Coleman. It is FULL of helpful ideas, suggestions for tools and equipment, marketing methods, etc.  It is very readable and very practical. I read it straight through last year, and then read most of it again this year! I loved it!

Posted by Margaret on Nov. 22, 2012 at 10:43:33 PM

Margaret & Lis, We are also big fans of Eliot Coleman’s and carry some of his books, including the one Margaret recommends: http://www.groworganic.com/the-new-organic-grower.html

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Nov. 23, 2012 at 4:21:06 PM

H

Lis, I highly recommend that you attend the MOFGA 3 day event near Belfast, Maine.  They offer hundreds of one hour workshops and for $10/day entry fee you simply cannot get this much info any faster for less money.  One lecture last year was particularly helpful, the business of growing.  The instructor gave us a one page template for creati g. Business plan.  I cannot suggest this highly enough.  If you can also locate a SCORE counselor through your Chamber of Commerce that would also save you tons of time and money to get or right the first time.
Good Luck!
And enjoy!

Posted by Holly on Jul. 23, 2013 at 8:58:56 AM

Holly, Thanks for sharing this info!

Posted by GrowOrganic.com on Jul. 23, 2013 at 9:35:36 AM

L

you sound exactly like me. Last year was our first year. We built our greenhouse and are a small family backyard nursery in WA state. my daughter emily is now a year and a half and spring is right around the corner, and i couldnt be more excited for this year. I believe spend your time doing what you love, if we love being healthy it only comes naturally to some of us do these sorts of things! Our little ones will inherit this earth and its our duty to see they know how to! We are planting the seeds of a new generation, We are Happy Roots Plant Nursery smile

Posted by Lis on Mar. 06, 2014 at 1:05:44 PM

M

I’m assuming these will only work if the blocks are kept in a greenhouse on trays? I overwinter our ginseng seeds in 3” pots under a cover of leaves in the woods, so they’re already in pots when they sprout and I can easily bring them to market. I’m afraid the soil blocks would not hold up that way. But I’d love to try it on our other herbs when I do get a potting shed or greenhouse to keep them in. How do you water the seedlings while they’re in soil blocks and do they fall apart when you do it?

Posted by Madison Woods from Wild Ozark on Feb. 27, 2015 at 5:24:39 PM

You must water with a mister, especially before the plant has developed many roots (which help to keep the block from falling apart later on)

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Mar. 04, 2015 at 11:42:45 AM

J

Actually the best way I’ve found to water soil blocks is bottom feeding. Fill the bottom of your tray up with water and they’ll only absorb what they need. It cuts down on algae growth on top of the blocks and reduces chances of spreading disease to the plant.

Posted by John on Jul. 26, 2015 at 9:13:02 AM

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