Soil blocks are a great technique for getting a heap of seedlings started without pots. The basic concept is that you make blocks of soil with a mold and then plant seeds into the block, and raise the seed to seedling size.
When you’re ready to transplant the seedling to your garden, you simply plant the whole soil block – no transplant shock, no shaking out of pots… just pop it in the garden and there you go…
Soil blockers are nifty little contraptions that come in a range of sizes… the one we have is suitable for a small market garden, but you can get smaller ones for domestic use. They do cost, but to us they’re a sound investment.
We bought our Ladbrooke soil blocker online from the UK and the service was great.
The mix we use currently to make soil blocks at Milkwood Farm is as follows:
2 parts Coco-peat (comes in a dried and pressed block)
1 part Course sand (washed)
1 part Compost
1 part Mushroom compost (if you can get it – ordinary compost if not – we use our home made which is not quite as soil like as the commercial stuff)
1 part Worm castings
Mix it all together and proceed to soil block as shown below. The exact consistency of the mix can be varied with a little water… experiment until you get it right…
You will find a different recipe in Eliot Coleman’s The New Organic Grower p.140
We’ll do a ‘how to soil block’ video shortly but for now, that’s the gist of it. Pretty funky planting technique, eh?
The students in the above images were attending the Starting an Organic Market Garden courses we’ve run at Milkwood Farm over this summer.
Big thanks to Joyce and Mike from Allsun Farm for their ongoing mentorship with our market garden project at Milkwood Farm. Also big thanks to Stephen Couling for sharing his secret soil block mix.