Soil Block Mixes - Knowledgebase Question

Trail, BC
Avatar for eckardtk
Question by eckardtk
December 22, 1998
Hi, I am interested in a proven recipe for a soil(less) mix for making soil blocks. Everything I have tried so far falls apart - either by itself within a day or two or, for sure after the first watering. So, the second question would than be: what is the proper watering routine ?

Some of the commercial advertising talks about adhesive soil mixes specifically designed for soil block makers. All the recipies that I have found so far don't include such an adhesive. Could you recommend one and where can I get it ?

Answer from NGA
December 22, 1998
Commercial soil block mixes may have some kind of binder, but I'm afraid I don't know what it is. Some mixes include peat humus (sometimes called "peat dirt"), which is peat that has decayed to the point where the individual particles are more akin to soil than moss fibers. Others contain up to 1/4 of their volume of screened, pasturized compost. Organic matter has "sticky" properties that holds inorganic particles together.

Some gardeners have been successful using unflavored gelatine as a binder for their soil blocks!

In order for blocks to hold together, be sure that the mix is well moistend by letting it sit for a few hours to absorb as much water as possible. Then pack the blocker firmly. The best way to water soil blocks is to place them on capillary matting so you don't have to water them from above.

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