Soil Blockers are a clever way to start seeds, cuttings and transplants without cell trays. They save space in your propagation area, reduce single-use plastic and produce healthier plants that take off easily.
Soil blocking involves compressing a specialized soil mixture into cubes for seed germination. This increases oxygen exposure on all sides of the root ball, preventing boundedness and resulting in stronger roots that resist transplant shock.
What is a Soil Blocker?
A soil blocker is a tool that creates small cubes of lightly compressed potting mix. These blocks are used for starting seeds, cuttings and transplants.
Using a soil blocker eliminates the need to use seed starting pots and seedling trays. It also helps you to minimize single-use plastics and produce healthier plants.
To use a soil blocker, first mix together the blocking mix (see below). Moisten with tepid water so that it has the consistency of soft putty or wet cement.
Then pack the soil blocker into the mixture, twisting slightly back and forth as you press it down. This ensures that the soil mix will be evenly packed into each blocker cube before you push them out onto your seed tray.
Soil blockers are available in different sizes, so choose one that best fits your needs. The smaller soil blockers are perfect for germinating tiny seeds like thyme or Lobelia, while the larger soil blockers can be used to start more heat-loving seedlings such as peppers.
Soil Blockers are a great way to start seeds.
Soil blockers are a great way to start seeds, whether you’re starting small seedlings (such as thyme or Lobelia) or bigger ones. The cubes of lightly compressed soil give the seedlings a better chance of success.
Soil blocks are also a less expensive option than using peat pots or cow manure trays and they’re much more convenient and sustainable. They also allow you to start more seeds in a small space, which saves valuable propagation space in your greenhouse.
You can buy soil blockers in a variety of sizes, including hand-held grids for smaller seeds and long-handled tools for planting larger ones outdoors. Most blockers come with dibble inserts that create a dimple where you can plant your seeds.
Fill your soil blocker with a damp potting mix, pushing down several times and twisting slightly, rocking back and forth. Be sure to pack the mixture tightly into each cube and scrape off any excess on the bottom.
Soil Blockers are a great way to start cuttings.
A soil blocker is a device that makes a series of small blocks, each one about half an inch thick. They are designed to hold seeds of all shapes and sizes, and can also be used for seedlings that require time or warmth to germinate – like lavender, nasturtium, oregano, rhubarb, rudbeckia and more.
They are usually operated by hand, and often have no extra attachments. The standard pin is a small button that makes an indentation for the seeds on top of the block, but other pins are dowel- or cube-shaped.
Soil blockers are a great way to start cuttings because they don’t involve non-biodegradable materials, such as plastic trays. They are also a great option for those who want to save space in their propagation areas.
Soil Blockers are a great way to start transplants.
Soil blockers are a simple, inexpensive and eco-friendly way to start seedlings. They also lessen transplant shock and loss, making them a great choice for more sensitive varieties (like those that can easily get root bound when planted from cell trays).
Unlike seeds that are grown in cell trays where the roots are pulled, pushed, compressed and manipulated, soil blocked seedlings have strong, healthy root systems that aren’t prone to breakage when they are trimmed down for transplanting. And the roots are air pruned, which inhibits the plant from becoming root bound – an issue that can lead to transplant shock and loss.
Soil blockers are available in three sizes – mini, standard and large. The small half-inch mini blocks are ideal for germinating tiny seeds, slow to germinate seeds and/or heat loving varieties like peppers and tomatoes. The standard two-inch soil blocks accommodate everything else under the sun – especially flowers and plants that need extra warmth, such as oregano and lavender.