I’ll admit it: until last week, I didn’t know about the concept of starting seeds in soil blocks (instead of containers). Mother Nature Network made the introduction, and my initial response was, shall we say, positive. After just a little poking around, I discovered two things: 1. you certainly can buy a soil block maker (or “blocker”) for a relatively reasonable price (and, yes, that’s an affiliate link), and 2. lots of people have created plans for making blockers, often from reused materials.
So, go ahead and spend that $30 if you’d like… or get creative with one of these ideas for making your own soil blocker.
1. Turn a Soup Can into a Soil Block Maker
Opened up a can of soup or beans lately? Then you’ve got the first material needed for this DIY blocker. You can probably rustle up the other materials around the house, also.
2. The Medicine Bottle Block Maker
Need something smaller? Pill bottles can work – just make sure to wash them out well beforehand. JBest at the Helpful Gardener forums shares his plan (along with before and after pics). Another one for which you may have the materials laying around the house.
3. The PVC Pipe Blocker
No doubt – PVC is nasty stuff. But, as I understand it, it does the most harm after disposal. So, while you may initially think “I don’t want to use that stuff in combination with food production,” this plan from Steve Howard at FarmCastNetwork.com might be a more sustainable option than tossing out that used PVC pipe (where it can leach into soil and water).
4. The Soda Can Soil Blocker
Like previous plans, this one from DaveNJ at Instructables makes good use of materials you might otherwise throw out. Additionally, Dave walks you through the whole process of making soil blocks – there’s also a recipe for potting mix here.
5. The Hardware Store Plan
Finally, this last plan for single block maker from PottingBlocks.com takes all of its materials from the local hardware and/or building supplies store – but it’s still cheaper than buying a blocker. A little more PVC here – if you’ve got ideas for alternative materials, share them.
Next page: “Multi-unit” soil blockers
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