OK so I finally got to put the homemade 4″ soil blocker that Mr. Hot Stuff made me to the test. Best illustrated with pictures, of course.
Here’s the blocker. It’s an 8 inch length of 4″ PVC pipe with some sort of end cap that happens to fit perfectly right inside it. There’s a u-shaped bolt that forms a handle and then the nuts that it attaches to on the bottom form sort of “dibbles” for the seeds, 2 per block.
A closer look at the bottom of the lid, you can see the two bolts that are good sized and form a good size dibble on both sides.
So here is the lid once I have flipped the blocker back on to sit on the plastic lid, I’m getting ready to press.
Time to press! The handle works great although I will say next one I make will only be 6 inches long (the tube) and I’ll just fill it in place… to get a decently compacted block I had to press further than my hand could comfortably reach and so I had to use a towel and a stick to push it in all the way. I think if I made the tube shorter and just filled the whole length with mix I’d end up with the same amount of mix but not so far to press.
And here it is all compacted!
Using a spatula, I move the block from the plastic lid to it’s permanent home in my seed tray.
And then once it is in it’s home I lift the top off very carefully and voila!
And here’s a tray almost filled with the blocks. You can sort of see the two indentations on each side that the bolts made, they are a great size for the bigger seeds you will plant in these like melons, pumpkins, etc.
I got cucumbers and melons planted in these, and I also started some marigolds and basil in some of the 2 inch blocks.
Speaking of the 2 inch blocks, one thing I wanted to do was to make the bigger block so I could easily pot up a 2inch block into it. But I found that this design didn’t work well for that. I had a 2 inch block but I couldn’t seem to get the soil mix compacted enough on the sides of the block. I tried doing it in layers which worked a little bit but then it occurred to me – I’m trying to make this simple, right? It was really just too complicated to make it work so I just took the blocker for what it was, ran to the store down the street for some 18oz keg cups, and potted my tomatoes & peppers up into those. They worked perfectly and were way quicker to fill than making 4 inch soil blocks with 2inch square holes in them 🙂
So there we have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how we decided to make a homemade 4″ soil blocker. It sure saved us tons of money!