Saturday, March 10, 2012

Starting Seeds: Cubes

It's Soil, in 3D...

In one of my previous blogs is mentioned the soil cube. Normally don't buy 'new innovate garden tools' as they are more marketing then quality. After some research, I bought one. I still think it is a great item for starting seeds and will still use it, but maybe not a convenient as soil pellets. Here is what I learned.

The Marketing:

  • Save Money! The soil cube system is less expensive.  It serves as both a container and the soil for starting and growing seedlings, eliminating the need for plastic pots and trays for transplanted seedlings
  • Seedlings grown in soil cubes form stronger root systems than those grown in containers due to increased oxygen to the roots and the soil cube's natural tendency to"air-prune" roots. This creates a substantial advantage when seedlings are transplanted into the field, because plants establish themselves more quickly and, because of lessened root disruption, they are less prone to transplant shock.

Actual Pros:

  • Plants don't have transplant shock
  • Plants (after being transplanted) grow faster, have less issue
  • No root issues, like root balling.
  • less seed starting issues when they sprout
  • very cheep to do a lot of seed starting

Actual Cons:

  • little more work get soil ready to plant seeds
  • little more messy to make cubes
  • harder to keep moist (might do better with self water system...)
  • if you water too much the cube become a puddle of mud

Will I use this again? Yes.
It might be a little more dirtier and little more hime to make the cubes. The plants do so much better in the long term. Tomato plants last year did better then direct sow or seed tray methods. My only real worry is watering the cubes. Too little water and the seeds won't grow. Too much water and the cube falls apart. Then again, it might be good for beginner gardeners to teach how much water seeds need.

Future improvements: self watering would be great.

soil cube

Episode 600 interview with soil cube creator clayton jacobs