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What could be better and easier than starting your seedling in soil blocks? It’s a very efficient method of starting seedlings. In Europe, a volume of research where made about soil blocks and has shown superior transplanting results than those in containers.
Soil blocks a basically blocks of soil made using a tool called soil blocker. Unlike seedling containers, soil blocks are delicate at first but becomes sturdy once the plant roots has established itself in the block.
Why grow seedlings in soil blocks? Primarily, the idea is to reduce the shock that seedling plants experience during transplanting. It helps grow strong, healthy transplants for a great start in the garden. It’s less expensive, you do not need to buy plastic containers for individual transplants which usually end up in landfills. The process is much faster. You save time during seeding as the blocks come ready with depression for the seed. Transplanting becomes easier and fun because there’s no pots to be removed.
Your plants will not suffer root shock as most transplants experienced grown in plastic and rough peat containers. In soil blocks, the roots grow to the outer part of the block and turn back inward to avoid the air surface of the soil blocks. In this way plants can gradually adapt to the garden environment with very minimal shock. And since the blocks were pre-wetted, you don’t have to water them for several days.
There is one disadvantage I find with soil blocks though, they lose their moisture quite rapidly because most of the parts are exposed to air. The solution…. Daily watering! And the trick here is to water from the bottom instead from the top. Fill the tray lightly with water, it will move around and up the block without disturbing the plants.
Here’s some simple steps to make your soil blocks. The first thing you need to do is find a good quality soil blocker and if possible in different sizes. (Let Google help you!) The initial cost may be a bit high, but you get your savings in the long run. Next is to make a soil mix recipe. Mix and wet the soil thoroughly until you have the right consistency and the best way of doing it is with your hands, and with gloves of course. Compressed the soil well in the blocker to make sure that they will hold properly and don’t fall apart when you dislodge them from blocker. Line them up in a flat pan or germination tray and start placing the seeds. When the seedlings are ready to transplant, just take the block and placed it in your garden! Really easy, there’s no shaking and cutting out the pots, but more importantly, there’s no transplant shock, and plants are able to adapt more easily to its new surroundings. Try using soil blocks on your next seeding project.
Have fun gardening!