Soil Blocks

Discussion in 'Fruit and Veg Gardening' started by KK Ng, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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    I am now using disposable plastic cups to start my seeds and it works for me. With the on going world wide campaign of reducing the use of plastic, I decided to look for non-plastic alternative. It is also getting a little difficult to get these cups because the demand is shifting towards paper cups. These plastic cups can last up to slightly more than a year or so while the paper can only be used once and it is quite messy.

    I had been reading up a lot on soil blocks as a seed starter and is quite impressed with it. Now I'm looking for materials to make a soil block maker to try out soil block as a seed starter.

    Is anyone here using soil blocks as a seed starter?
     
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  3. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

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    KK, I've looked at soil blocks and thought they were a good idea. However, I have plastic starters that I have used for several years (the oldest are 10 and holding up well). If mine die of old age, I'll try soil blocks!
    Please let us know if you use them, and if you are pleased with the results.
    Seedlings.JPG
     
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  4. Dirtmechanic

    Dirtmechanic In Flower

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    A press is necessary to assist creating low cost soil blocks from your own materials. This one is 20usd and made of metal for a long life.
    shopping.jpeg
     
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  5. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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    WOW!!! Marlingardener 10 years … I'll post my soil block journey when I decide to start using soil block.

    Thanks for the recommendation Dirtmechanic, I am going with DIY.
     
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  6. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    I am finding your thread interesting, KK.
     
  7. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    KK,, Can you get the same size cups in styrofoam ? They can be used a number of times ! When they have bit the dust and are ready for the trash just give them a quick whiz in the blender and add the small pieces to your potting soil or dirt ! The small pieces will allow air into the soil and keep it from packing !
    Just add a bit of water to the blender with the styrofoam cups or tiny particles will create a cloud when you remove the lid ! Pour water and all into the soil and mix it in !
     
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  8. Dirtmechanic

    Dirtmechanic In Flower

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    I am always in awe of your practical experience!
     
  9. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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    Hi Sjoerd, thank you :)

    Styrofoam disposable cups are hard to come by Mart and I feel real guilty of adding it into my garden. Whenever I find a piece of plastic when I prepare a bed. I'll remove it even if it is a teeny weeny bit :)

    Yes it is practical Dirtmechanic but it is not for me.
     
  10. Dirtmechanic

    Dirtmechanic In Flower

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    Every soil is different. I do believe with the sheer quantity of suffocating clay soil in the southeast USA we could absorb the plastic in the ocean while improving the airability of this damned clay on a more permanent basis. From what I understand about ultisols, massive areas of Africa and South America might benefit as well.
     
  11. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Styrofoam is 98% air ! All it will do is the same as perlite added to potting soil,, allow air into the soil and keep soil loose with enough added ! You can just break it up with your hands or chop it up ! Plastic is different !
     
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  12. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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  13. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    KK,, Read your first link again ! Once extruded it is sterile ! We are not going to eat it although it wouldn`t hurt you if you did ! We are just talking about adding it to garden soil to prevent it from packing and allowing air to your plant roots ! Recycling helps !
     
  14. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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  15. mart

    mart Hardy Maple

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    Its safe enough to drink hot coffee from so temperature has no bearing on it !! If its sterile then there would be no problem adding it to soil !!
    Your first link was written by a single person with no studies to back his opinion and no education level other than the non profit charity he is writing for !!
    Second link was written in 2012,, you would think they would have law suits by now if they could link anything to styrofoam cups !! Try using major universities or government agencies for correct information !! And again we are not talking bio-hazards,, just adding it to garden soil !!
     
  16. KK Ng

    KK Ng Hardy Maple

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    Well Mart it's each to their own :)
    I have another to two links that you may want to check out, the first is from Rutgers University
    https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/38329/PDF/1/play/

    the second one is from The Baltimore Sun which mention that some places in USA had already banned Styrofoam use in food containment and packaging materials.
    Quote The Baltimore Sun - Feb 18, 2017 - "Already Washington D.C., Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and the cities of Takoma Park and Gaithersburg have banned polystyrene foam use in food containment and packaging materials, minimizing the harm to the Anacostia River. Seventy-six jurisdictions in eight other states have also adopted polystyrene foam bans. It's time to stop harming the Chesapeake Bay and the people who call Maryland home. It's time to ban polystyrene foam."
     

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