Block heads and Tadoot-dadoos


A Dead Head is a fan of the Grateful Dead.  

 A Parrothead is a fan of Jimmy Buffet.  

 A Cheesehead is Fan of the Green Bay Packers.

soil_block2I’m in love, with soil blocks.  I am a big fan of these little cubes of compressed dirt. Based on the definitions above I am a Blockhead.

When I was first introduced to soil blocks, I thought that they were cute but unimpressive. But my subconscious          apparently liked the concept and filed the idea for future reference. Several weeks later, when David and I started to review the environmental impact of our little farm and our reliance on non-renewable sources of peat and petroleum based plastic, we realized that our practices needed to change and the idea of container less soil blocks popped in to my head.  After researching them on the internet, I borrowed a block maker to see if they would work for us.

In our first round of blocks I germinated cucumbers, squash, and flower seeds in a couple of trays. The larger seeds took to the soil blocks quite well; however, the smaller flower seeds did not germinate as quickly.  I was disappointed and thought that the blocks would not work with smaller seeds. Eventually, though, they did make an appearance and thrived.

Our second round of soil blocks filled several trays and we used them for starting our beets and chard. When David planted them out he found that the soil blocks made the job quicker and easier.  Instead of stopping to coax the plants out of the cells packs that we usually start our seedlings in, he just lifted the plant and soil block out of the tray and popped it in the ground. No fuss, no mess, less time involved.

My experience with soil blocks was so positive that I am proud to be a Blockhead and as David pointed out, I am in good company. Charlie Brown is a Blockhead as well. (2013)




A hallmark of childhood is improvising. If you want to ride a pony, you put a long stick between your legs and say giddyup. If you want to be in a band you bang spoons on pots and pans, make a kazoo by folding wax paper over the teeth of a comb and by blowing into paper cylinders transforming them into the musical instrument a tadoot-dadoo .

According to Paul, the Bible guy, adults are supposed to put childish things away. However, I have found that sticks make excellent swashbucklers for bolstering my intent while intimidating stray critters away from the yard. Spoons hanging from fishing line make wonderful chimes that tinkle when the wind blows and tadoot-dadoos filled with dirt become useful germination pots.

When David and I decided to eliminate our dependence on plastic pots and cell packs I considered the idea of folding newspaper into pots. After researching the procedure and making several, I realized that our needs exceeded my abilities to mass produce these pots. We would need hundreds, if not thousands.

We have been recycling paper towel and toilet paper rolls for years.  We always have plenty. When I started to consider using these tubes I wondered about their toxicity and biodegradability. A quick check on line revealed that a lot of gardeners were already using these rolls for starting their plants.

The general consensus seems to be that since children and animals chew on paper rolls without ill effects, these tubes are nontoxic.  . Still, research pending, I will only use paper tubes for starting flowers. Their biodegradability I can test for myself. (2013)




zinnias_toot                                toot_bio



The smooth brown area is what is left of the paper roll.

To be continued…

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