Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Build Your Own Soil Block Maker Tool for Next to Nothing But Don't Tell Johnny's Seeds (Employee Owned)

Do-it-yourself soil blockerAll Soil Block Principles remain the same, except this makes round cakes, not soil blocks. Makes a nice round 1-1/4" soil block. Total cost= $7.00-10.00 with easily found parts at any hardware store.

Try this "blocking mix" or soil cell mix:

  • 1 part milled sphagnum moss
  • 2 parts Vermiculite*
  • 2 parts Perlite

These ingredients work well for soil cells rather than soil blocks. Other than these low compression machines, DO NOT use vermiculite in a Ladbrooke soil blocker. The blocker will just crush the vermiculite rendering it useless as an aerated medium.

Warning: The whole soil block art & philosophy is about root growth in a compacted soil block. Anything that looks "much simpler or easier" can't compact soil enough to adhere to our science of soil blocking. Do it right, or don't do it at all.

Check out this link for another option on how to make free soil blocks. Very Useful. 5 star information www.toppers-place.com/soil_blocks.htm


parts-1-.gifWhat you will need:

A 1/4" PVC cap 1
B 1/4" X 6" threaded rod 1
C 1/4" X 6" threaded rod 2
D 1" wood screw 1
E 2" X 5 1/2" PVC pipe 1
F 2" PVC cap 1
G 1/4" x 6" hollow tube 1
H 23/32" compression spring 1
I 1/4" flat washer 2
J Handle for top of 1/4" threaded rod (see instructions #4)  
K Filler for 1 1/4" PVC cap ** See Special note in instructions  
Tools: Drill with 1/4" and 9/16" bits  


Assembly Instructions:

If you are unable to acquire the parts in their sizes or cut them yourself, ask if your local hardware supplier will cut them to size for you.

DIY soil block makerDIY soil block makerDIY soil block makerDIY soil block maker

Making the Plunger

  1. Take part A (1 1⁄4” pvc cap) drill a 1⁄4” hole in top center. This will allow the insertion of part B (1/4” threaded rod).
  2. Insert part B (1/4’ threaded rod) into A, then screw part C (1/4” nut) about a 1⁄2” onto threaded rod, pull threaded rod through A so nut is flush with inside cup. Thread second C onto B and secure flush to A, so threaded rod is secured onto A. (Assembly #1) set aside. (see pic.) **see FILLER info below.
  3. Take part E (2” pvc cap) drill a hole large enough to slip part G (1 1⁄4” hollow tube) through hole. (Assembly #2) set aside. (see pic.)
  4. Take part J (handle). This can be made out of anything, plastic, wood, etc. Anything that will give you comfort when pushing on the plunger. The one in this example is made out of a recycled piece of plastic, with a 1⁄4” drilled into it to received B as detailed in images and instruction #5.
  5. Take Assembly #1 insert into Assembly #2 through the bottom of G. Slip parts I (flat washer) and part H (spring) over G, which is sticking out the top part of E. Push H down enough to place second I on the end of B, which is sticking out of G, then attach J to hold all parts in place (see pic.)
  6. After A has been filled, take part D (1” wood screw) and screw into center of filler to create a divot you will need to plant your seed. If you opt not to do this and want to put a hole in the soil cell after forming the soil cell, you stand a good chance of breaking down the walls of the soil cell and you may have to remake again. Which gets easier and easier, once you get the rythmn.

Special Note: I was able to tap all the drilled holes to have threads so I could screw everything together. If you do not have access to a tap, some type of water resistant durable glue will help hold things in place.

**Filler for Part A – in order to have a flat surface on the top of the soil cell, the 1 1⁄4” cap needs to be filled with something hard. For my project I chose Resin. Which lends itself perfectly to making a hard surface that is easy to clean. In the center of the resin is where I inserted the wood screw, which gives the soil cell a divot in which to place a seed. The filler will ultimately secure C on to the end of B, which is inside the bowl of A. Make sure the measurements are where you want them BEFORE filling. If G is too snug, make the hole in E a little larger, but not so it is sloppy. Over time it will become less snug.

Making a cellMaking a cellMaking a cellMaking a cellCompleted cell

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