Friends, though large soil blockers are nearly indestructible (hooray!) and mini soil blockers are not (sigh), you’ll still enjoy your mini-blocker for years with these tips.
Keys for Not Breaking Mini-Blocks
~ If you’re pressing really hard for your mini blocks to release, pause. Rather than forcing the release, remove the potting mix (dunking your mini-blocker in water is the easiest way to remove the mix without force) and take a peek.
~ Most often the mini-blocks aren’t releasing because a) the potting mix is too compressed or b) a small stick or stone in your potting mix has lodged between the plastic base and the metal that pops each block out. Stay vigilant!
~ Either way, it’s a delicate balance: pressing your potting mix into each compartment of your blocker is key, yet if if you compress the potting mix too much, the metal sides will pop out of the plastic base. And if it’s a stick or stone lodged between the plastic base and the metal, the metal can easily bend.
You Got This!
We absolutely love mini-blockers for cozying peppers, oregano and so many small, heat-loving seeds right up close on the heat mat! With a little practice and lot of attention, you’ll enjoy your mini-blocker for years to come, too ~
Sow Seeds & Sing Songs,
& the whole Fruition crew
2 thoughts on “How to Not Break Mini Soil Blockers!”
I read an article that was written written a couple of years ago shared at Cornell. https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/2021/04/soil-blocking-in-five-easy-steps/
After reading it, I contacted Cornell with some questions and they revealed Petra wrote the article, and NC state horticulture was researching alternative mediums but they weren’t a lot of help, so I thought I would come back to the source. In the article it said you were researching some hopeful medium alternatives to make the soil blocks. I wondered if there was a follow up?
I tried compost in the past (not successfully), newsprint (attemped to duplicate egg packaging material….failed). I didn’t have you soil blocks and mine got lost when I moved. A couple of notes: I detest Jiffy pods. I refuse to use peat. I do embrace coir for seed germination BUT recognize there are some issues with that industry (I am careful what coco coir I purchase). I pot up the seedlings into a mix of local commercial compost with a commercial greenhouse soil with perlite and organic dry fertilizers/micronutrients.
It works well, but requires the use of plastic germination pots and then plastic larger pots. Both of which sit in plastic trays. I really would like to eliminate plastic as much as possible. Which brings me to the point…..did you discover an alternative for medium that works well for geremination and then seedlings; I grow a number of peppers and slower growing veggies that require starting 6 to 10 weeks before last frost….so the blocks need to hold together and yet fall apart after transplanting so they don’t inhibit strong root growth. Any thoughts?
Hi Mill, Thanks for reaching out. I apologize for the delayed response as we just got through our busy season in the seedhouse and are in the processes of getting caught up. For now we do not have an update but we are always looking for ways to improve our practice and hope we will have alternatives in the future.