The time of year is fast approaching where I start hundreds of seeds indoors with my grow-light setup. Last season I wrote a post documenting all the things you need to start seeds indoors and one of the main things I listed was cell-packs or pots. Now I realize that you don't even need them - if you have a Seed Starter Soil Blocker!
I first read about soil block makers 10 years ago in my all time favorite gardening book The New Organic Grower, by Eliot Coleman. Eliot Coleman is the leading expert in effective organic vegetable production. I have implemented many of Coleman's organic techniques and alternative tools over the years in my garden but I never had a soil blocker until now.
I don't know why I waited so long. I used to spend hours packing soil into little cell packs. Now I can just create blocks of soil as the pots. Now that I see it in action I am going to buy the other sizes of block makers too. You see, the beauty of the system is that you can start a seed in a small block and then transplant it into a larger block when needed. The larger size soil blocks are made with indentations the exact size of the smaller block! I got my soil blocker for Christmas, but they are available at some seed companies and on Amazon.
If you don't understand how the blocker works, it is designed to compact the seed-starting medium into the blocks and then "press" out the blocks with a spring-loaded mechanism.
I used to think the soil blocker costs were too high but now I'm reconsidering that. The smaller sizes run around $30 each but the larger 4" size is over $100. All I have now is the medium size but I may spring for the smaller size this year too. I will probably have to pass on the larger size and use pots and make-shift containers for my larger tomato transplants like I did last year. Although I do think the complete soil block maker system is so cool that I will save up and get the larger one for Christmas and have it in production for 2009! I know, I know, we still have all of 2008 to go. I will post about the smaller boil blockers when I begin using them next month. I can hardly wait!