Starting Seeds with Soil Blocks

It’s that time of year again to start thinking about starting your seeds indoors. It’s a great way to get a jump on spring. For the last few years I have been using soil blocks to start my seedlings. They are a great alternative to those plastic seed starting cells. There is a small initial investment in purchasing the soil block molds, but once that’s complete your done. Unlike the plastic cells you need to buy every few years.

If you are considering using soil blocks to start your seeds, there are a few things you’ll need:

  1. Soil block makers: I suggest purchasing a 3/4″, 1-1/2″, and 2″ block molds
  2. Seed starting soil: see the recipe below
  3. Trays: Any seed starting tray will do. I prefer to use photo developing trays, they are thicker and have channels on the bottom. I also use old cake pans, for smaller blocks.
  4. Hardware cloth (wire mesh): 1/4″ or 1/2″ grid, cut to fit in the bottom of the tray.

Soil Block Makers

Soil blocks are created by molding soil into a particular size cube. There are several size soil block molds available on the market today. I own a 3/4″, 1-1/2″, and 2″ mold. The 2″ mold has inserts that can be installed to create an opening in the block to receive a 3/4″ block. This allows you to block up as the plants begin to grow. The block size is often determined by the seed size, I use a 3/4″ blockĀ for lettuce, flowers, broccoli, and tomatoes (just to name a few), but a 1-1/2″ block for squash seeds. The 2″ blocks are great for blocking up from a 3/4″ block.

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