Friday, June 12, 2015

Soil Blocking

Our Colorado rain is tapering off so I have been planting seeds and my vegetable starts in the garden.
This past winter while planning the garden we came upon an article about DIY potting soil and soil blocking mixes. Always eager to make a change for the better and have more control over the soil we grow in, we looked into this hand-held 4 cube soil block maker.
I couldn't be happier with the results I got with this recipe from Mark and Debbie Wolfe. Their generic recipe for potting soil and soil block mix both contain the same ingredients, just in different ratios. Think of these little blocks as those small pre-formed peat pellets you can buy in many garden stores, but 1000 times better. After acquiring the necessary ingredients you mix everything together in a large bucket, add enough water to make the soil come together, then start filling the blocks. You push down on the handle to expel four beautifully shaped cubes onto a tray.
The stamped form leaves a little depression in the center of each cube for your seeds, it really couldn't be any easier. After placing the seeds I covered the center with a little more soil. 
Eight days later four varieties of cucumber seeds are up. 
At twelve days the kabocha, spaghetti squash, burgess buttercup and birdhouse gourds are planted around the yard.  I'll give the parsley, basil and cilantro another week before they go in. The seeds were only planted two weeks ago tomorrow.

Here is the Soil Block Mix Recipe: 
3 gallons peat moss
1 handful of powdered dolomite lime
2 gallons coarse vermiculite
3 Cups organic all purpose plant food
1 gallon garden soil (right out of your garden, not from a bag)
2 gallons compost(if you don't have your own compost you can use bagged composted manure or mushroom compost)

I was able to make 96 cubes and still had nearly 2 gallons of soil mix left. I will definitely be doing this again next spring.

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