Monday, March 1, 2010

Soil Blocks and Seedlings

I love it when a plan comes together.

I have been searching for ways to start seedlings that are more eco-friendly than the plastic pots you always find them in.

It began when I saw an article about making pots out of newspaper. The first few methods I saw were OK, but most of them used tape or staples. I thought there must be a better way. So I turned to another hobby, origami. I started making origami seedling pots out of newspaper, but despite the assurances that "The roots will have no problem penetrating the paper," my seedlings never thrived.

Then I tried peat pots, but the netting and use of peat really got to me. I wanted something more local, and well, cheap.

I made some flats out of cedar scrap boards and tried compost and soil for the medium. It was effective but weedy.

Then I saw a soil block maker on the Path To Freedom website, and the Johnny's Selected Seeds Youtube channel. I really wanted one, but had no luck finding it here in Japan. So I thought, maybe I could make one myself? And with a little help from Google found Topper's place and instructions for a DIY soil blocker! :) Great! I found an old plastic container, drilled a hole in the bottom for a long bolt to pass through. Then I cut out a plywood washer and secured it between two nuts and metal washers.

Well, it works great. I have made 50 or 60 soil blocks, and the mizuna, komatsuna, and today eggplant seedlings were popping up! It is still too early to tell for sure, but I think they will work out pretty well.

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