Want to form your own sets of blocks for your organic garden? A soil block maker can help.
Soil block makers are used to form sets of blocks that serve as a container and medium for starting and growing seedlings. It lets you skip having to pay for, store and waste plastic pots. When seedlings start in the block, they are more robust and can be transplanted into the ground with as little shock as possible.
They often come in a variety of sizes and designs.
I love my block maker, which I received as a gift after numerous hints and references to loved ones about soil block makers in the Johnny's catalog. I also mentioned that I never would have bought it myself, due to the cost. They can be quite pricey.
I received the two-inch block maker, and it would be really nice to be able to plant up into the four-inch blocks. But holy cow--look at the price of those larger soil block makers. I couldn't be the only one who felt reluctant about paying upwards of a hundred bucks for a soil block maker.
Making Your Own Soil Block Maker
I wondered if I could make my own soil block maker and save a few bucks. So I did some looking around, and here are some ideas from clever folks who came up with their own designs:
- Topper's Place was the first site that really got me thinking about making my own soil block maker. With detailed instructions and helpful drawings, it's sure to get your creative juices flowing. Stop here so you have more ideas about how you want to create your own soil block maker.
- Instructables has a tutorial on making your own soil block maker from plumbing pipes, which can save you money.
- Cornelia over at Homegrown.org has a great post up about making soil block makers of varying sizes from items from around the house, including ice cube trays and plastic food containers.
One more great resource: if you are on Twitter, there is a weekly chat called #SeedChat.
It takes place every Wednesday, and last night (coincidentally!) the chat was all about using soil blocks with guest host @InkandPenstemon. Check it out by searching for the #SeedChat hashtag on Twitter. You can also check the SeedChat website, where there's also an archive of last year's Seed Chat about soil blocks.
I hope these ideas help you make your own soil block makers. My husband and I (but mostly my husband...) came up with a design for a four-inch soil block maker that works really well. I'll post on our design soon--I'll be using it to sow my tomato, eggplant and pepper seeds this weekend. Keep an eye out for a post about my recipe for the perfect soil-less mix recipe for making soil blocks.