[Market-farming] soil blockers

David Inglis mhcsa at bcn.net
Tue Jan 28 10:16:12 EST 2003

If soil blocks dry out they are a bear to re wet but they will also stay
moist far longer than any cell does. The key is to make them with as wet
a mix as you can and keep up with them. The container is also important
because you need to minimize the number of blocks exposed on the edge.
In Europe they are made in place on concrete so there is almost no block
that is exposed. Then they are scooped up onto flats for transportation
to the field.
You are right that your choice of watering nozzle is important though
misters are not necessary. I found that once a day watering is
sufficient which also allows the plants to dry off by sundown, with
obvious advantages. Too heavy watering will erode mix between the blocks
and then roots will pass from one block to the next causing stress when
they are separated.
I no longer use blocks, even though they produce nice transplants if you
understand how they work.
Like a horse, the cost of blocks is not in the up front expense [initial
purchase ] but in the recurring costs.
they require much more mix.
They require much more greenhouse space, and therefore heat.
They require skill to make. 
They require much more time to make.
They require concrete flooring or flats that cost as much as rigid cell
flats do.
You can not get as many 'starts' on the transplanter at any one time.

I say all this after many happy years of using them successfully.
I now use 'Winstrip' rigid flats.
The farm that uses blocks on the largest scale, that I know of, is
Angelic Organics out in Illinois.

David Inglis
Mahaiwe Harvest C.S.A.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: market-farming-admin at lists.ibiblio.org 
> [mailto:market-farming-admin at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of 
> Ken Bezilla
> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 9:57 PM
> To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] soil blockers
> Something I've always wondered re: soil blocks -- aren't they 
> a lot more 
> work to keep watered?  And how do you water them without the blocks 
> crumbling under water pressure -- do you need to have misters 
> on timers?
> Ken Bezilla
> East Wind Community
> s. MO
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