[Market-farming] Re: Soil Blockers

pam at twinoaks.org pam at twinoaks.org
Wed Jan 29 11:28:25 EST 2003


	I have used the 2" soil blocks for some years, 
mostly for cucurbits. Soil blocks are nice for eliminating 
transplant shock, and allowing a lot of flexibility about 
when you transplant - they seem to hold longer than 
you would think possible. They are very quick and easy 
to transplant.
	Now for the buts - I tried one of those mini-
blockers (3/4") and hated it. The compost had to be 
very fine or else good blocks would not form. They 
dried out very fast and had to be watered very carefully 
with a Fogg-it nozzle, or else the blocks disintegrated. 
	For the 2" blocks I use a mixture of screened 
home-made compost and peat-moss. I don't like to use 
peat-moss because of the issue of renewability. I come 
from Britain where peat-moss is a no-no for organic 
growers because of the degradation and disappearance 
of the peat bogs. I understand the situation in Canada is 
different and peat may be growing at a faster rate than 
it is being extracted. Still I am uneasy about it. Coconut 
fibre works as well as peat for blocks, but it's even less 
bio-regional.....
	It takes a lot of time to make a lot of soil blocks, 
and my main assistant hates the job, so I've been trying 
plug flats instead. Winstrip make a 2" cell one. I can 
use all home-made compost in those, and avoid the 
peat-moss/coconut dilemma. They're much quicker to 
fill. However, in a direct comparison with cantaloupes, 
the plants in the cell-flats could not sit as long waiting 
for transplanting as the ones in soil blocks. (Yes, I know 
it's better not to delay transplanting, but things 
happen.....)
	Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks, Louisa, VA




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