plastic pot alternatives : soil blocks

soil block seed starting garden tool

The second plastic pot alternative is one we’ve been coveting for sometime. If you read any Eliot Coleman, you’ll have heard of the marvellous soil blockers.

If you haven’t read any Eliot Coleman, put away this blog and go to the library RIGHT NOW! Seriously. Go.

To me, this is just genius.

No plastic. No paper. No pots at all!

This metal contraption looks pretty indestructible, and once you get the hang of it, I’m sure you can make a ton of “pots” in a hurry. All it is is a soil mould.

Get a nice moist seed-starting mix, pack it into the soil blocker, place it on your growing surface (we’re using a watering mat) push the handle down and out pops your perfect cubes of soil, complete with a tiny dimple on top to accept a seed!

Each cube of soil is separated by air, which will naturally prune the roots of your plant starts. No pot to get bound in.

Like I said, genius.

When they’re ready to pot up, there’s a larger size that has a small block instead of a dimple – your first small blocks will just slip right in!

The biggest benefit we could see right away – these need so little space. We are constantly strapped for space in our tiny house and garden, especially at this time of year. We’re pretty convinced this will completely change our seed-starting lives. We paid about 50 bucks for the two, and with care they should last indefinitely.

And yes, you could make this yourself!! Obviously if you have a large market garden you’ll need something a bit bigger. I’m sure you could fashion something out of a wooden box and dowel. I’m not giving my poor hubby any more projects though, so we’ve got these.

If you want to learn more about using soil blocks, check out Eliot Coleman’s classic book The New Organic Grower.

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