Seed Starting in Soil Blocks

I finally started the seeds for my vegetable garden. A true sign of spring! I ordered almost all of my seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. They specialize in heirloom varieties that perform well in the mid-atlantic and southern states, although they sell seeds to gardeners from all parts of the United States. Whenever possible I choose varieties that are old southern heirlooms: proven southern performers that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Plant Labels in Soil Blocks.JPG

If my seed starting pots look to you like clumps of dirt, you are right! That is exactly what they are. For about three years now I have been starting seeds in soil blocks. Soil blocks are made by compressing a damp seed starting medium into a "block" shape with an indentation for the seed. Once the plant is ready to be moved to the garden you can simply plant the block into the gournd without having to remove a pot. The benefits of using soil blocks include less root-disturbance for your young starts, and no pots to buy, make or store. The soil blocker I use makes four blocks at a time. So far, I have had great success using method.

In our old house, I started my seeds under a grow light in our basement (which was basically a dirt cellar) . In our new house we don't have a basement, or a cellar, or extra room anywhere for starting seeds. I considered buying or making a small greenhouse or cold-frame to start them outside. I found some cute ideas on Pinterest.

As usual, I ran out of time and inclination for these ideas. I ended up putting them in the bathtub we use for washing the dog.

Bathtub Seed Starting Set Up.JPG

Maybe next year I'll build or buy something cute. For now, rub-a-dub-dub the seeds are in the tub.


Simple expanations of heirloom open-polinated seeds can be found here and here.

This site has lots of information about soil blocks including sections on making your own blocking mix and soil blocker. They also sell soil blocking supplies. I believe this is where I bought my soil blocker years ago.

Johnny's Seeds also sells soil blocking supplies. I have purchased their soil blocking mix before. also sells soil blocking supplies.

How do you start seeds?