Soil blocking tools are very handy for indoor seed starting at home. I’ll show you how I use mine.
For more, also see these tips on seed starting and propagation.
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Using a Soil Blocking Tool
Soil blocking tools are used to turn seed starting soil (or medium) into handy little “soil blocks”. After creating the “soil blocks” with the tool (see demo below), they are ready for seed sowing.
The advantage to seed starting this way is that the blocks don’t require individual containers and you can plant the blocks directly into a pot or the ground when the seedlings are ready—no fussy transplanting or thinning out. If you plan to start seeds every year, you may want to get one.
Watch How It’s Done
The short video below shows how to use the tool. You can see the soil blocking tool here at Amazon.com. Product links go to my affiliate account.
A Soil Blocker
- Soil blockers come in various sizes. I use a 4-cell one that creates 2″ blocks of soil.
- If you have a favourite seed company or local nursery, check there first to see if they sell them.
Seed Starting Mix
- You will need seed starting mix that is suitable for the seeds you are starting. I pick an organic mix suitable for growing food seeds.
- Alternately, if you want to make your own seed starting mix, a common recipe is 1 part each of peat or coconut coir, vermiculite, and perlite.
No matter what you choose, these items come with environmental concerns and plastic packaging. Truth be told, gardening is not very green at times.
- The seed starting mix I use comes in 4 kg/ 14L (8.8 lbs) bags.
- I find that one bag provides enough mix to create 50 soil blocks (2x2x2″).
- Fifty 2″ soil blocks fit perfectly in a 10×20″ tray.
- My local nursery gives away any trays and pots that customers return to them.
How To Make the Soil Blocks
- Pour seed starting mix into a watertight bin.
- Add enough water so that the mix forms moist clumps when you grab it. I wear rubber gloves and massage the water into the soil.
- Mound the soil at least 3″ deep and press the soil blocking tool into it, packing each cell tightly with the moistened mix.
- Release the soil blocks into a planting tray. If they hold their shape, you’ve got the right level of moisture.
- Plant your seeds according to the directions on each seed package. Always water seeds and seedlings from below (around the sides of the soil blocks), not on top.
Seed Germination Tip
For the best germination rates, make sure your soil is the right temperature.
This shows you the optimum temperature for starting many popular seeds:
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛