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.