Hello Mutineers! If you’ve followed us here on the website or on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, you know that I like to share the things we actually use around Mutiny Ranch. Since our interests are diverse these items range from animal care to gardening implements but also footwear and kitchen gadgets. No matter what the item is though if we recommend it here then we personally own and use it or have researched it enough to have it on our “wishlist”.
Mutiny Ranch Item of the Day for 3/26/2021 is the Ladbrooke Mini 4 Soil Blocker. I learned about soil blockers from my friend and permaculturist, Kathy Curry. She held a talk at the Agricultural Expo in my town and explained the benefits of using a soil blocker. Since then I’ve heard from many people who expressed a desire to reduce the number of plastics they use including those in the garden. And if you’ve ever gardened or started seeds at home you know that most containers are made from some sort of plastic.
Granted, most gardeners take good care of their seed starting stuff and reuse them year after year so at least not all of it is single-use (but a lot is). Those thin 6-pack containers you get from the garden center tear easily and can be difficult to reuse without destroying them. And they’re made in a way that makes them non-recyclable so please don’t throw them in your recycle bin to “let them sort it out” as that might contaminate the whole batch or damage the sorting equipment.
Anyway, back to the Ladbrooke Soil Blocker…
The Ladbrooke is probably the gold-standard for gardening equipment. This particular model makes 4 squares at a time and each square measures 2″ by 2″. Perfect for most seedlings. This is a great way to not only reduce plastics (since you don’t need the 6-pack containers anymore) but it saves money too. You can use the Ladbrooke over and over and over again…year after year. All you need is a seed starting mix.
If you want to save even more money Kathy suggests making your own soil. She uses 1/3 compost (store-bought or homemade), 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 peat or coconut coir. Mix them all up in a large tote or kiddie pool. When you’re ready to make your blocks soak the seed-starting mix with water to make sure it all gets saturated. Then simply plunge the soil blocker into the mix, pack it in, and then depress the plunger over your tray. You should end up with 4 perfect squares ready to accept seeds.
I like to fill an entire tray (either a 10 x 20 plant tray or any old tray or retired cookie sheet I have laying around that can catch water) and then plant the seeds to save time. You could even have your partner or kids help out…it’s actually fun to push the plunger down!
The Ladbrooke Mini 4 Soil Blocker is great for home gardeners and small farmers. They do come in other sizes (smaller and larger) to fit other needs. Every once in a while I hear people saying that soil blockers are too expensive when I suggest them to people on a tight budget but they can be used indefinitely and can pay for themselves in one or two years. Right now a 24 pack of 6-cell seed starting trays are on sale for $6.99. The Ladbrooke is about $37 right now. You’ll have to decide which is a better investment.
As always, we sincerely appreciate it when you use our links to make purchases through Amazon. As Amazon Affiliates we may earn a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you. This money goes toward our rescue animals’ upkeep as well as to help assist the rescues of other animals.