How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Mixing Soil for Soil Cubes

Ok … so this evening we managed to finish mixing the soil block mix, so I figured I’d share the process and recipe we’re starting off with.

First, I promised a picture of the soil screen that I put together. Here’s a shot … ignore “Mr Slow Man” there on the side.

I forgot to mention in my post about how to make a soil screen that I also put handles on the top end of the screen. It helps shake the whole thing violently.

You can see here how it all fits nicely on the wheelbarrow.

Anyhow, on to the mix.

My “standard” portion for this mix was a four gallon square bucket (go figure) but you could really use whatever you have handy.

Your first ingredient is peat moss. Take three buckets of peat moss and screen them one at a time. The screening is actually pretty important, so don’t skip that step.

Next, take some granulated lime and mix it in. How much may or may not matter, I dunno. I just put in what looked like a reasonable amount (a couple cups maybe) and mixed it all with a shovel.

Then add two buckets of perlite. Mix it all up with your shovel. Don’t use vermiculite, because it will actually change, deform, and crush during the blocking process.

It will then look something like this:

Now, mix in some fertilizer. I used about the same amount of fertilizer as I did the lime, maybe a bit more. I used an organic fertilizer that was chemical free.

The last step is to take three parts of compost, screen it, and mix it in. Again, screening here is critical. This is a picture of what was left in the screen after one bucket of compost … look at all that debris!

See, if you leave the debris in, your blocks won’t pack well, and will fall apart. After screening the compost, it should look something like this.

I used three different types of commercial compost for this. Mel of Square Foot Gardening fame recommends mixing commercial composts to get a balanced nutrient profile, and I think it makes sense.

So that’s what I did! After a final mix, here’s the finished product.

This weekend we’ll be making the blocks and getting them planted. More pictures next week!

BTW, here’s the recipe in a nutshell:

  • 3 parts screened peat moss
  • 1 cup lime
  • 2 parts perlite
  • 2 cups organic fertilizer
  • 3 parts screened compost

Have a great weekend folks!

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2 Responses to Mixing Soil for Soil Cubes

  1. good luck with your soil cubes and garden- ours is coming up already- i am so excited- this is our first garden- we are still waiting for some plants from TN to be shipped to us.
    what plants are you growing this year? we are growing green beans, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, peppers- three kinds, and hopefully will be planting cantelopes, watermelons, sweet potatoes- if i can grow slips correctly- and peas and blackberries when we get the plants
    i am in the process of buying a pressure canner to put up. it will be my first time- i have help for the water bath canning at least.

    oh something else i thought of recently for having in an emergency is two thermos- one for drinks and one for food- for use when doing sentry or other outdoor activities
    love your blog- i look forward to it every day

    • Boy, the list is pretty long. I should probably write a post about it.

      This weekend we should be starting tomatoes, peppers, and a few other things that escape my mind right now.

      We bought a pressure canner, and it’s pretty cool. A bit intimidating when you consider that it’s a giant bomb, but they’re pretty safe :)