Three guesses

… what this thing is?

During our forthcoming chunk of annual leave, the Husband and I will be preparing and laying plans for my new vegie garden. A few days ago, I completed the roosts in Chookonia, and installed the two nesting boxes, so we’re good to go. When we get back, we’ll have the Girls cranking out chicken poop and I can get some serious compost going. The Girls will also be turned out into the former orchid shade house, soon to become my shaded vegetable and seed raising area, to munch on the weeds currently occupying the interior, and till the beds in there for me. I have plans also to clear another patch of ground near the banana trees by raising a potato crop in mulch, where I will eventually plant tropical-hardy vegetables that can take the heat, humidity and lack of winter chill.

My seed lists are ready. I’ll probably kick off by installing some ready-grown vegetable plants from the nursery to get things moving, but once I have a feel for how the space is working, I’ll be wanting to start some seeds. The list is long, but I’ll start with the basics.

Which brings me to this.

Some of you may well know what this is. Others, maybe not. I’ve been gardening for a long time, but I hadn’t seen one of these, and I think it’s genius.

Give up?  It’s a soil blocker. Er, say what? You know those black plastic seedling modules you fill with potting compost and start your seeds in? With one of these gizmos, you don’t need the module. You make a very wet mix of potting compost, vermiculite (or similar) and peat moss or coir (about 5:1:1). It needs to be wet enough to hold in a clump if you squeeze a handful.  You press this device down into a heap of said potting mix several times until the cells are firmly packed full of soil. You then stand it in a drainer tray and press the sprung handle down. Voilà! Seed blocks made of compressed potting soil!

What you can’t see in this photo is that each block will have a depression in the top surface into which you drop your seed. The thing’s a standard size to fit most commercial seedling trays and you can neatly fill a whole tray. It comes with a variety of doodads to make different size/depth of depressions in the top, and I also received a whole bunch of white tags for labelling which are reusable. The blocks last well, are easy to transplant into the ground, and you don’t have any disruption to the roots because of trying to poke them out of their little plastic cells.

There’s no plastic waste, it’s durable, simple, and should last me the rest of my gardening life. You’ve got to love that.

The only downside? It came in pieces and there were no assembly instructions! But I got there in the end.

28 thoughts on “Three guesses

  1. cedar51 says:

    Don’t you hate it when the instructions are gooblygook but seems even worse, No Instructions. Looks like an intriguing game changer.
    And we look forward to your adventures in the garden and later onto the plate.

    • katechiconi says:

      Bad instructions are worse, I think, because they give you the *illusion* of help. Once I saw a couple of YouTube videos on the way to use it, the function of all the bits became clear. I’m going to start small and simple out there, but I’ll probably end up having to plant too much in the end, as the giant insects are a big problem here: grasshoppers almost the size of my hand, for example.

  2. What a nifty doodad… I’d never seen such a thing before. Good to see your plans progressing.

    • katechiconi says:

      I can imagine a huge cost saving if you were growing commercially, not to mention the reduction in plastic waste to landfill… I know many people reuse their plastic modules, but they always get binned in the end. I’ll let you know how it goes when the time comes.

  3. knitnkwilt says:

    I’m always happy to find ways to not use plastic! Gardens are great for those who enjoy gardening.

  4. Marty K says:

    Looking forward to the gardening tales (and chook “tails”). The blocker is very cool. It’s definitely fun to be able to grocery shop in one’s backyard. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      You’re right! I miss that from when I had a quarter acre vegetable garden years ago. I wouldn’t be able to manage that much these days, and besides, the climate is very different here, but I’ll start small and add on as time and my strength allow!

  5. Oo I do love a good gadget.

  6. nanacathy2 says:

    Knew exactly what it was! Needless to say Mr E had 3 D printed one! Look forward to seeing the garden.

  7. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I shall look forward to hearing how you get on with it. And with the hens and garden of course.

    • katechiconi says:

      First the hens, before all else. They are my multi-tools: they weed, till, eat the pests, eat the scraps, provide eggs and fertilise. Oh, and they’re entertainment, too!

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        I miss mine but until I can find a way to protect them from foxes but also have plenty of space it is not fair to keep any.

      • katechiconi says:

        We don’t have foxes, so that simplifies things, and the pythons eat eggs but not chickens, and aren’t poisonous. They also keep the rodents down very effectively!

  8. Emmely says:

    I had no idea what this is! Interesting.

  9. anne54 says:

    i know that there are going to be many entertaining posts about your Girls! growing your own veggies is very satisfying, especially if you have successfully grown them from seeds. I only had very quick forays into growing my own seedlings….my watering wasn’t consistent enough. Have fun!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m hoping that I can achieve consistency by caring for all my ‘children’ at the same time: feed the dog, feed the Girls, water the vegies (oh, and feed the Husband too, if he’s lucky!). I have a routine for Mouse, so to keep things running, I have to tie the others in to that routine. Hopefully it will work. if it doesn’t, I’ll find what does.

  10. magpiesue says:

    No assembly instructions?! What were they thinking?!! (Obviously, they weren’t at all.)

    • katechiconi says:

      I think they must have assumed that if you were ordering one of these things, you knew how to use it and could therefore infer how to put it together. Which was more or less correct in my case!

  11. Debbierose says:

    That is one interesting gizmo, amazing the items people have created to make life easier – thank heavens for their creative thought and due diligence to make it come to fruition

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