Creative Farming

It may be the artist in me, or it may be a penchant for tinkering I learned from my parents. I love to create a solution to a situation using only things I already have. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes a purchased tool is much better than anything I could cobble together. Right tool for the job and everything.

On the farm here, we have a mini soil blocker that makes tiny little soil blocks (3/4″ cubes) and a 2″ standard soil blocker for starting seeds. There’s also an attachment that makes 2″ blocks with a 3/4″ divet in them so that we can replant the mini blocked seeds into the 2″ blocks. Some of the seedlings that have sprouted in the 2″ blocks are outgrowing them, and at the same time they don’t quite seem like they’re ready to go outside into the planting beds. There’s a need here for a bigger block of soil so that these babies can continue to grow. We could buy the 4″ blocker that’s available from the same company that sells the smaller ones. The 4″ blocker makes a single block and costs kind of a lot of money ($119). It’s probably as well-made as the smaller ones, and may be worth the money. If we can do without that expense, however, why not experiment?

With two plastic containers that previously held nuts (4″ diameter at the wider end), plus a screw and a block of 2″x2″ wood, I built and tried out a single soil blocker of my own. Photos below. We’ll see how well it works, and it would be simple to make more so that several people can be blocking at once.

One container with the middle of the bottom cut out, another container's bottom cut to fit inside.
2" block of wood, screwed to a cut-off bottom of one container
The piece with the block fits inside the casing, a little like a springform cake pan.
I tried it out, and it seemed to work!
Testing to see if a 2" block fits inside. This might just work. Might need a slightly deeper wood block.