An Alameda Garden: Propagation Month, Day 17: Sowing Snapdragons in Soil Blocks

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Propagation Month, Day 17: Sowing Snapdragons in Soil Blocks

I've been reading good things about using soil blocks for sowing seeds and I have to admit I like the idea of not having to buy all those plugs. I also like being able to control the soil mix. I was just about ready to order a soil block maker, but then I decided to experiment with some improvised soil blocks and see how they work before I invest in yet another gadget.

It only took a few minutes to put together a dozen soil blocks using a small, square plastic pot as the form. The trick is to get the soil mix (I used a basic potting soil with just a little perlite added) fairly moist and then pack it into the form very tightly until the moisture is oozing out. That way, the soil block will slide out of the form and still hold its shape.

I used a plastic deli container to hold the soil blocks; they fit pretty snugly, which should keep them from drying out too fast. The snapdragon seeds I was sowing are really tiny so they just needed to be sprinkled sparingly on top and then pressed down to make good contact with the soil. I'll move them to the mini-greenhouse tomorrow. Seedlings should start to appear in one to two weeks.

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  1. The Potting Block Guru says soil block makers are definetly not a gadget! You simply must check out my website in order to understand why soil block makers are the fundamental keystone to an amazing garden. Also, readers, do not assume soil blocks from professional makers look as sloppy as this picture. They should always be crisp, square, sturdy, heavy and perfect. Can Alameda pick hers up and toss it to her apprentice? I wouldn't bet the farm on that!

  2. Potting Block Guru, sorry my soil blocks look sloppy to you, but the fact is they worked out just fine. If you're going to make hundreds of soil blocks at a time, then by all means, a soil block maker would be a worthwhile tool to have. If you're only doing a few at a time, the gadget is really unnecessary--a small square pot makes a perfectly usable form. As for how well your soil block holds together, that's going to depend more on the potting mix you use. More peat makes a tighter block--but also makes a block that dries out a lot faster, which is why I don't use a heavy peat mix.

  3. No, I'm sorry that "hundreds" at a time are what you deem as necessary. I have thousands of customers across the country sent to me through the Martha Stewart website that simply plant a few seeds in their blockers every year. Some householders and house wives simply prefer to buy one piece of equipment and store it in their kitchen, rather that use all those cheap plastic pots that need to be cleaned and sterilized and stored and then they still crack after two years anyways. And, finally, a pure peat block mix is preferable to some who have no problem watering them daily, LIKE AT THEIR KITCHEN WINDOW SILL! But, now peat moss is an environmental issue, but one must know that coco pith is preferable to plain coco peat, but, again, my job is education, because the plastic agriculture industry ends up in dumpsters across America, and I am choosing to educate and end this waste.

  4. Nice guide! thank you!/I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

    Garden Tools


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