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Post  yolos on 3/19/2012, 8:44 pm

I just received my order from Johnny's this evening. I got a mini and a 2" soil block maker and a heat mat. I am ready to start growing my seeds now.

Any tips from those of you who have already been using soil block makers? I have to work Monday - Thursday. I leave the house at 7:30 am and don't get home until 5:30 pm. I will not be able to mist them during the day. If I have a clear dome to cover them with, will that keep them moist during the day? Should I put the blocks in a small layer of water during the day to keep them moist?
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Post  camprn on 3/19/2012, 9:18 pm

there are a few threads from last year that could be valuable to you. There are also some good videos on youtube about how to use the soil block makers and make a soil block mix that will hold together.

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Post  Lavender Debs on 3/20/2012, 9:33 am

The minis can dry out fast even w/o a heat mat (I JUST got a mini). I do not think that I would put a lot of water under the block...but again, I'm not THAT experienced with minis). I would be more inclined to put a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the blocks.

It is Monday as I keyboard this, wondering what you decided to do.
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Post  yolos on 3/20/2012, 12:54 pm

I decided to wait to plant my seeds in the mini soil blocks on Friday morning. I am off for three days and will be able to monitor the moisture in the mini blocks better.

I read all the threads on soil block makers and have picked up a few ideas. I will initially cover the mini's with saran wrap when I plant the seeds (until they germinate). That seems to be the most critical time to keep the mini's moist. That will give me time to experiment with the 2" cubes and see if they stay moist only watering once a day. If that does not work, I will try keeping a small amount of water in the bottom of a tray and hope that the blocks do not disintegrate.

It is planting time in Georgia for a lot of different veggies so I have to get busy.
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Post  CaptainKidney on 3/20/2012, 1:13 pm

I placed my soil blocks in a tray that was deeper around the edges than where the soil blocks were. I placed a cotton cloth covering the bottom and then the soil block on the raised part in the middle. When I watered, the cotton cloth "wicked up" the water from the edges and kept the soil blocks moist but not wet from one day to the next.
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Post  plantoid on 3/20/2012, 6:53 pm

Can you use capillary matting under the tray that holds the blocks for continous moisture uptake with your blocks?

For the last two days my pots are in a dished tray that has a poly sheet under it , the capillary matting & then the trays . The water reservior 3 gallon old emulsion paint tub it is a good six inches lower , it is also sat on the same length of poly sheet that is gathered up and tucked under the handle so it won't leak on to the floor .

It's set up in my glass house day temp has been reaching 80 o F most days for at least five hours.

I'll tell you how well it works on Tuesday when we come back from a long week end away that starts on Thursday morning at 05.30 ish .
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Post  yolos on 3/20/2012, 9:09 pm

Thanks CaptainKidney and Plantoid. I will have to do some experimenting with the wicking and capillary mats to see what works. I appreciate the ideas.
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Post  abdosoliman on 3/26/2013, 12:59 am

Elliot Colman advised two formula for soil block
1- potting soil recipe
4 buckets commercial peat-lite mix
2 cups organic fertilizer blend
3 buckets compost

potting soil recipe 2
3 buckets pet moss
1 bucket per lit
3 bucket compost

I used both recipes sucssefully
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Post  littlejo on 3/26/2013, 10:44 am

I made the minis ,of damp vermiculite, then covered with plastic wrap. I moved the tiny seedlings to the 2" blocks after they came up. I just use MM for my 2 in blocks. I put the mm in a gal zippy and microwave for about 3 min to sterilize first.
As far as watering the 2 in blocks, I put water in the tray they are in and let them soak it up, I add a little bit at a time til they won't soak up any more. I might water every day if they are dry, or every other day. It will not hurt your seedlings to get dry a bit, this may keep fungus at bay.
I did use some worm tea on my seedlings this yr. and they put on blooms in the house, 1 pepper was only 3 in. tall!
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Post  Hoggar on 3/26/2013, 11:57 am

Was reading through this and thought would share this link.
I bought this Blocking kit from pottingblocks.com Its great. I never used one before but the the results speak for them self. I used soil from one of my boxes and had no problems with them falling apart. My seeds sprouted in less than a week. I haven't watered them since I planted the seeds. That was about a week and a half ago.

New Soil Block Maker Soil_Blocker_Kit__24758.1345919700.1280.1280


Last edited by Hoggar on 3/26/2013, 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  quiltbea on 3/26/2013, 11:58 am

With my mini-blocks, I poke the hole space a bit deeper with a pencil point and drop in the seed. I found that if they aren't deep enough, they don't root as well. Next, cover with vermiculite or a light dusting of starting soil. Mist the tops lightly with water when first sown (the blocks are already wet from making them). I place the tray on a the heat mat and cover tightly with a dome, cover, or plastic bag (not under lights at all).
New Soil Block Maker Seed_s13
I spray mist them well each evening and morning for moisture. None needed during the day in my furnace room.
New Soil Block Maker 02-26-10
As they pop up, I remove the cube and place them on a tray, in a tuna can, in a pudding cup (to keep the varieties separate) and place under the lights. Keep them misted during this time day and nite. When they look like they'll make it, I transplant into the 2" blocks (maybe 3-7 days).
Midi-blocks (2 inchers)......For tomatoes, I remove a bit more of the soil in the open space to make it a bit deeper and refill on the top. For all seedlings, make sure the soil is touching the mini block all around so there are no air spaces between the mini and the midi blocks. I place them into a waterproof tray under the lights, add about a half inch of water to the tray and allow the plants to bottom water. When the water completely disappears from the bottom tray, I'll add another half inch of water once again.
New Soil Block Maker 03-08-15
On the right are those same tomatoes sprouts seen above.
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Post  yolos on 3/26/2013, 3:28 pm

Quiltbea - Can you make a whole bunch of blocks, use what you need right then, and store the rest. I know they will dry out. Later, when I need to use more can I then reconstitute the blocks by adding water in a tray. I would like to make a large batch at the beginning of the sprouting season, and then use them as needed throughout the spring.
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Post  quiltbea on 3/26/2013, 3:44 pm

Yolos....I just saw a video where the maker made 1000 blocks (2" size) at a time and covered them with plastic to keep them damp until they needed to be used. I'd say they must need careful watching so they don't get too dried out and you won't want to wait too darn long before using them.
I only make them as I need them so I'm no expert on the subject.
Sorry I can't be more helpful.
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Post  Windsor.Parker on 3/26/2013, 5:23 pm

I made 24 ea, 2" cubes yesterday morning, stored them in a couple of spare, plastic, grow trays. I used the clear plastic tops to cover them. They're on a high shelf where they'll stay pretty warm (seems to help speed up germination) until I need them within the next few days.
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