Monthly Archives: May 2010

Soil Blocks #4: Making and managing.

So at last we have arrived at the final post on making soil blocks. Unfortunately, I'm now separated from my blocks (a condition not quite as traumatic as being separated from one's newborn baby, but close), so I cannot give you a picture of them, dang it. Instead, I offer a photo of the high-tech tools needed to plant blocks:

Tools: tweezers etc.

But let us begin at the beginning.


The official sites recommend adding water to the soil mix until it reaches a soupy consistency or slurry. One fills, or charges, a mold by pushing it forcefully downwards through this muck, twisting as one drives it to the bottom of one's container. Once there, a twist will release the suction and allow one to lift the mold clear.

I, of course, did nothing of the kind. I'm the kid who, in eighth grade art, used charcoal like a fine pen and laid a pen sideways to lay a broad swath across the paper. So of course I didn't follow the directions.

Instead, I dragged the mold repeatedly through the slurry, pressing it against the side of the container. (If one uses this technique, a rectangular container offers significant advantages over a conventional bucket.) Then I started using a trowel to press excess soil into the blocks. Finally, with the micro 20, I used my fingers.

The basic principle remains: the more soil one manages to pack into the molds, the firmer the blocks will be, and the better they'll hold together.

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