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Soil Blocks: Tutorial In Photos - Page 2 Toplef10Soil Blocks: Tutorial In Photos - Page 2 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Soil Blocks: Tutorial In Photos - Page 2 I22gcj10Soil Blocks: Tutorial In Photos - Page 2 14dhcg10

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Soil Blocks: Tutorial In Photos

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Post  canada6827 9/23/2016, 7:05 pm

Thank you for the link. It is pretty much what I found online. Most of the 'recipes' called for peat moss, perlite and compost. Much like Mel's mix. That's why I asked if I could just use it. Thought it would be simpler than buying additional ingredients. But guess I'll just have to play around with it.
Thanks for the responses.
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Post  trolleydriver 9/23/2016, 7:11 pm

canada6827 wrote:Thank you for the link. It is pretty much what I found online. Most of the 'recipes' called for peat moss, perlite and compost. Much like Mel's mix. That's why I asked if I could just use it. Thought it would be simpler than buying additional ingredients. But guess I'll just have to play around with it.
Thanks for the responses.
If you use vermiculite (e.g., instead of perlite) it probably would be better to use a finer vermiculite in the mix rather than the coarse vermiculite required for Mel's Mix.
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Post  Kelejan 9/24/2016, 9:45 am

3 Qts Peat Moss, 2 Tablespoons Greensand, 2 Tablespoons Phosphate Rock, 2 Tablespoons Bloodmeal. Mix together well. Then add: 1 Qt Perlite, 3 Qts Compost. Mix together and use this for your soil block starting soil.

The above is the recipe for Johnnie's Mix that can be purchased from them, at great cost seeing as they are in the US and not Canada.

I tried my best to get the ingredients and still have some on hand but where do I get Greensand and Phospate Rock when I only need 2 tablespoons of each?

I have on hand peat moss, Bloodmeal, compost. I have looked at the actual production on video and it looks so easy.

Maybe the make up of the compost is critical?

Perhaps there is a market that could sell the properly mixed ingredients that would be guaranteed to work? So that we could buy it off the shelf.  These tiny quantities are so much hassle, at least to me.
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Post  has55 9/24/2016, 10:22 am

great tutorial
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Post  Turan 9/24/2016, 12:10 pm

Kelejan, I add a couple Tablespoons of an organic gardening fertilizer I keep around, rather than individual ingredients.  I have a small bag of Espoma's brand.  This is not critical, especially if the compost is good, just like in every thing else we do. 

As I usually only start a couple dozen or so plants each spring so I look to what is easy to find and not frozen. For the soil I look at the commercially available seed starting mixes.  I look for one that has a fine texture.  When I use it I usually end up adding a handful more peat, that is what holds the blocks together, but I try it first and then add peat if and as much as needed to get the right consistency.  I suspect MM would work just fine if the vermiculite/perlite is not too large in size and quantity, add extra peat if the blocks do not hold. I have had good success with these brands-  Jiffy seed starter mix brand and even Miracle Grow Organic seed starter.  Not so good with Fox Farm's Seed Warrior, the perlite is too big and too much so the blocks do not hold, but it is good in trays.

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Post  Kelejan 9/24/2016, 12:49 pm

Thanks, turin, that sounds so helpful.  I have c & P it in Word under Gardening - Making Soil Blocks so I will have it on hand when I start later this year.
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Post  landarch 9/26/2016, 11:32 pm

I've seen soil blockers on sale at Johnny's Seed on and off through this year.  I bought the small one and the 2"...I started carrot seeds indoors in the small ones...and I did beets, sugar snap peas, and peppers in the large blocks.  The large blocks worked well...I had trouble getting the small blocks to work with the mix I had on hand.  I had too many small woody pieces in my compost to get good compression in the small blocks.Soil Blocks: Tutorial In Photos - Page 2 Soil_b10
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Post  sanderson 9/27/2016, 2:57 pm

Nice example

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Post  Turan 4/5/2024, 10:53 pm

Soil blocks is how I still start most of my plants. I think the plants transplant much better. This is a good tutorial that Quiltbee made.
I just started - 12 tomatoes, 6 kinds, - 12 peppers, 3 kinds, - and 10 broccoli, 2 kinds. This weekend I will probably start some spinach and lettuce too.

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Post  markqz 4/7/2024, 12:37 am

It's been a dozen years since the first post in this thread. It looks like Amazon now sells lots of these, from $8 to $40+ or more. Almost all of them were 2" makers.

The exception is a tool by Fiskars. It makes a ridiculously large 3.5 inch pot, or four smaller 1" pots. It runs about $15. I might check that out, as my supply of yogurt containers has dried up.

The price I found at Johnny's was about $50, and there doesn't appear to be a 3/4 inch maker anymore. Smallest is 1.5 inch. But maybe I'm searching with the wrong text or something.

I seem to recall that we had a post somewhere with someone with plans for making block makers in a 3D printer.
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Post  OhioGardener 4/7/2024, 10:47 am

markqz wrote:The price I found at Johnny's was about $50, and there doesn't appear to be a 3/4 inch maker anymore. Smallest is 1.5 inch. But maybe I'm searching with the wrong text or something.

I saw this interesting listing for a soil blocker that makes 20 3/4" blocks.

https://thegardenersworkshop.com/product/kit-starter-soil-blocking/

And then, there is this one that makes 20 1/2" blocks.

https://territorialseed.com/products/micro-20-1-2-in-soil-blocker

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Post  Turan 4/7/2024, 11:41 am

I only have the 2" block maker, it makes 4 at a time. I like the idea of the 1/2" blocks but could never get myself to buy the maker partially because it makes so many at a time. I got my 2" block maker used a dozen years ago. It is still going strong. If I have to pot up a size I use the 4" plastic pots that I seem to collect. I have to be careful to wash and bleach those plastic pots so I do not spread disease.

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Post  markqz 4/23/2024, 11:37 pm

I got the Fiskars. I may need to work on the recipe some more. Here's a tray of De Jeur radishes, about 10 days into their growth cycle. I like the 1" size. The 4" size is enormous, but I think I can slice an inch off the bottom and make it into a hocky-puck pot for starting squash.

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Post  sanderson 4/25/2024, 3:09 pm

Mel's Mix or other recipe?

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Post  Turan 4/25/2024, 3:17 pm

sanderson wrote:Mel's Mix or other recipe?
In general, for soil blocks Mel's Mix would not hold shape well enough. You need a higher percentage of peat or lesser percentage of vermiculite. I think a recipe is posted in this thread or another one.

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Post  OhioGardener 4/25/2024, 5:20 pm

Johnny's Select Seeds has an excellent article on tips for making soil blocks, including a recipe.

https://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/methods-tools-supplies/seed-starting-transplanting/soil-block-makers-eliot-coleman.html

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