I’ve been hearing some buzz lately…
…about these handy-dandy soil block thingies that people are using to start their seeds.
I’ve been pretty loyal to my nifty little newspaper pots for a while now, but being the
nosy curious homesteader that I am, I just had to check out these new pots on the block. (Sorry… I couldn’t help myself) 🙂
My initial detective work led me to this soil block maker on Amazon for $30 (affiliate link). It has good reviews, and a lot of people seem to be having success with it, so it’s definitely an option.
But then the DIY-side of my brain kicked into gear and I started scheming about how I could make one of these oh-so-trendy soil block makers myself.
So that’s what we are doing here today–and there are two different styles you can choose from. The first one (the classy tin can model) was my project on Sunday afternoon. I like that one because it’s super simple and super cheap. But then hubby came along and decided he could make it even better, so I’m including his version as well. I actually like his design better, but don’t tell him I said that…
DIY Soil Block Maker (the classy tin can version)
You will need:
- An empty tin can (I think the one I used was the 15 oz size–or something like that)
- A chunk of dowel or a round/square wooden stick of some sort (scrap lumber is great)
- A screw (or two)
- Potting soil
- A pan/tray to hold the blocks
Remove both ends from the can. You’ll need to save one end, but you can toss the other one.
Attach the lid of the can to the dowel/stick with the screw. We drilled a guide hole first, and then screwed it together.
My one caution is to watch the sharp edges of the can/lid. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when you are using this version of the soil block maker to avoid cutting yourself on the sharp edges.
To make the blocks:
Mix the potting soil with the water– the amount of water you need depends on the soil, and it will take a bit of trial and error to get the right consistency.
You want the soil to be very moist and able to form a ball when you smoosh it together in your hand. If it’s too dry, the block won’t hold together. If it’s too wet, you’ll have a flood of water squirting out the bottom when you compress the soil. Just play around with it until you get a consistency that works.
Once you’ve arrived at the right combo of soil/water, fill the can 3/4 of the way full with the moist soil. Use the plunger (aka lid and stick) to firmly press the soil and compact it into a block. Use the plunger to push it out the bottom of the can.
Congratulations! You’ve make your first soil block.
Use your finger (or the eraser-end of a pencil) to make an indentation in the soil block, and place your seed in the soil.
I plan on watering mine with a spray bottle, as I’m guessing pouring a bunch of water on top will cause them to disintegrate. Or, as the seedlings grow, you could water them from the bottom as well.
DIY Soil Block Maker #2 (hubby’s new-and-improved version)
You will need:
- A piece of PVC pipe
- A plug of wood (hubby used a holesaw to cut the circle of wood to fit inside)
- A dowel or chunk of old rake/broom handle
- A screw
Cut the piece of PVC pipe to size (ours is 2″ in diameter and around 6″ tall, but this is very flexible. Just use what you have)
Screw the wood plug onto the dowel.
Follow the above directions to form the soil blocks.