There are two ways to make planting blocks.
Compost or pre-packaged soil block
One way to make a soil block is too wet good soil. This would be a pre-bought and packaged bag of potting soil or homemade compost. Find a rectangular box frame with a 3-inch height. Wet the soil to the point where it will clump in your fist when you squeeze a handful. Pack the soil into the frame and tamp it until it is firm. Let it dry.
Cut the dried soil into squares. Plant in these squares like any other soil block. Tip: I either place newspaper or an old coffee filter around the block to make sure it holds together well.
The next block is quite unique. I read about this in Organic Gardening many years ago. I did try it and it works but I can honestly say I am not sure about it. I cannot even tell you why I feel this way. But I like new ideas and this one stands out in my opinion.
Often times in your garden you remove the top layer of garden soil. I will do this in a new garden plot so that I can make sure I have all the grass and weed roots out. I add more compost to make up for the turf removal and plan and plant the new garden.
This turf that you removed can be added to a compost pile to break down, used to fill or replace bad areas in the yard or used for soil blocks.
If you haven’t removed turf or the top layer of grass from you yard its actually quite easy. I use a garden tool to cut into the soil about three to four inches deep. I work in about a foot area at a time. Once I cut the turf in a line I cut up the sides about a foot. You can take a hoe or spade and cut under the soil and it will peel back.
Take a small section, usually a foot square (larger pieces get heavy), and place on a table or tray to cut. I cut these into roughly 3-inch squares. I trim the grass or weeds as short as possible with a pair of scissors. Turn the block upside down so that the grass is on the bottom and let the blocks dry for a few days. The grass will begin to die on the bottom.
When you are ready to plant a seed just poke a hole in the block with you finger, place the seed in and cover with fresh soil. Water and wait for the seed to grow.
I didn’t have a problem with weeds popping out of the block and the seeds germinated the same as in the garden. I would recommend bigger seeds though. I think a small lettuce or radish seed would get lost.
I have used the turf blocks a few times, mostly for pumpkin or squash seeds and when I am running out of pots.
If you try this let me know what you think. As I said earlier I really had no positive or negative thoughts about the turf blocks one way or the other.