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The SFG Journey and making soil blocks Toplef10The SFG Journey and making soil blocks 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.

The SFG Journey and making soil blocks I22gcj10The SFG Journey and making soil blocks 14dhcg10

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The SFG Journey and making soil blocks

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Post  has55 1/26/2016, 9:56 am

I'm putting the video up because I only found excellent wriiten info on the links about soil blocks on the forum, including Eliot Coleman method. I hope this is helpful for some seeing the video.
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Post  Kelejan 1/26/2016, 10:48 am

Last year I bought the soil block makers but I could not get the soil blocks to remain in a block, they just fell apart.

Where does one get greensan? No one seemed to have heard of it.

I will have another go at making blocks and hope they do not fall apart.
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Post  Turan 1/26/2016, 11:24 am

Green sand can be ordered from Planet Natural.  It is also an ingredient in some of the Espoma fertilizer mixes.

When my soil blocks fall apart I add a bit more peat.  If you want to use your MM for the blocks use a finer grade of vermiculite and use less and then up the peat.  I keep playing with it until I get the right blend for this particular bunch of ingredients.  I also use organic potting mixes that I sift all the chunks out of.  I then plant most seeds in a pinch of fine vermiculite in the dimple.

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Post  sanderson 1/26/2016, 12:22 pm

I see greensand is packaged under the Espoma label. Maybe it can be found in nursery areas of big box stores, also?

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Post  Zmoore 1/26/2016, 1:08 pm

I found some at local garden supply store.  Espoma is on label.
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Post  Kelejan 1/26/2016, 1:14 pm

Thank you all on the greensand question.  I will look out for it and try to order it from my nearest nursery, which is a offshoot of one further away.

Turan, thanks for the tip on altering the ratios of peat etc.  I will be more brave and start playing around with the recipe instead of trying to stick to the letter.
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Post  NanSFG 1/26/2016, 2:05 pm

This looks better than trying to start seeds in the newspaper pot. Very Happy
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/26/2016, 7:07 pm

That looks cool, but I think he is further down the road than I am.....I am doin some jiffy pots and I might try the newspaper ones.
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Post  trolleydriver 1/27/2016, 8:32 am

That looks great, especially if you are starting a lot of seeds indoors that way. I wish I had a big enough garden and wallet to get all these gadgets. I checked out the price for the Soil Block and Mold tools he uses. The set is $66 at Lee Valley in Canada. That's overkill for me given I require so few transplants. I'll stick with reusing toilet roll tubes and yogurt containers for my small operation.
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Post  kamigh 1/27/2016, 1:52 pm

I invested in the soil block makers last year and love them.  My suggestion, if you want to start with less of an investment, is to buy the littlest one first (the 3/4" blocks).  I think it has the most bang for your buck.  For me, I start my seedlings in those blocks on my lone heat mat and then can transplant them up as they grow.  It saves space and resources, because you are just tossing a little 3/4" block if something fails to germinate, not "wasting" a precious spot out of a Jiffy Tray or something similar.  I can try many more varieties, older seeds, etc, and pot up as necessary.  Also, I use the 512 mix from Johnnys for my soil blocks.  It is expensive when you add in shipping (especially when you are not on the East Coast), and not available to our Canadian neighbors, but it works well for me and the money spent is worth it to offset the time and effort it would take me to source all the other ingredients and make the mix myself.  For the (relatively) small number of seeds I start each year, I'll just buy the ready made bag.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/27/2016, 6:22 pm

kamigh wrote:I invested in the soil block makers last year and love them.  My suggestion, if you want to start with less of an investment, is to buy the littlest one first (the 3/4" blocks).  I think it has the most bang for your buck.  For me, I start my seedlings in those blocks on my lone heat mat and then can transplant them up as they grow.  It saves space and resources, because you are just tossing a little 3/4" block if something fails to germinate, not "wasting" a precious spot out of a Jiffy Tray or something similar.  I can try many more varieties, older seeds, etc, and pot up as necessary.  Also, I use the 512 mix from Johnnys for my soil blocks.  It is expensive when you add in shipping (especially when you are not on the East Coast), and not available to our Canadian neighbors, but it works well for me and the money spent is worth it to offset the time and effort it would take me to source all the other ingredients and make the mix myself.  For the (relatively) small number of seeds I start each year, I'll just buy the ready made bag.

Makes sense!
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Post  Kelejan 1/27/2016, 7:08 pm

Last year I tried to source the ingredients for Johnnies mix and failed miserably. By the time I had finished, I had too much of one ingredient when I only needed a little and nothing of others ( e.g. greensand).

The videos make it seem so easy.  Sigh!  I think I will buy some potting soil and use a little fine vermiculite. I had better start practicing again.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 1/27/2016, 8:00 pm

I feel too rookie to attempt such a thing....plus I don't have the block makin' thing. Looks intriguing however!
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Post  yolos 1/27/2016, 9:39 pm

I have two sizes of soil block makers.  Nothing seemed to work well last year so I gave up.  i will have to try Turan's suggestion of adding a little bit more of peat moss.  Also, just saw a video that said to dip the soil block maker in water before making the block so the block will come out easier.  I even tried Johnny's 512 mix and just couldn't get it to work.

For those of you who do not want to spend that kind of money, there are a lot of DIY soil block makers on youtube.
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