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New seed germination chamber and first soil blocks with pictures

Posts: 65
Location: Olympia, Wa
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This will be our first full growing season at my new house and I am really excited to get things going. I put the finishing touches on my germination chamber and started my first soil blocks.

The chamber has 4 ballasts with two 4' flourescent tubes each. I have enough space to add a 3rd shelf when needed. Lights are 16 hours on 8 off. Up top is a heat bulb with a fan, both attached to a thermostat the keeps things at 73F. The whole thing is wrapped and seems to be a good seal. Not sure the humidity yet, just put the soil blocks in today!
My wife had the great idea to use velcro to attach the front flap. It works great, super easy to open and close.
The real test will be to see if it is cat proof!

Soil Blocks
This is my first time using them, they seem to be holding together pretty well for now. My mix is...

8 cups perlite
8 cups compost
20 (ish) cups coc coir (hydrated)
1/4 cup greensand
Water as needed

I read that a lot of some people had issues with over and underwatering and so they used mats to wick up the water. I put the blocks on top of thin strips of wood. The hope is the wood will wick up the water without keeping the blocks soaked. You can get a bundle of this wood lath strips at home depot for just a few dollars.
I originally used the strip to mark out where our trees and  keyhole garden beds will go. Hindsight, using old wood may not be the best idea, could possible cause an infection (we will see!).

After I put the seed on the blocks I sprinkled a little bit of coco coir on top to cover them. Not sure if I needed to do that, do you do it? I'm concerned it might turn the small blocks into one large block is I sprinkle too much coco on top. (probably I am being overly concerned)

Since the heat source is a heat lamp that will turn on and off at night, am I going to have issues with confusing the plants? The light is at the top and the ballasts should block most direct light. (again, probably being overly concerned).

Wish me luck!  Most of these ideas I got from this forum so thanks to everyone that posts!
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Chris Emerson
Posts: 65
Location: Olympia, Wa
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Overall I am happy with the new chamber and soil blocks. Here are some updated picture. I made some more and this time I separated the blocks further. I can't get as many in each tray but at least the roots should not  bind together.
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garden master
Posts: 854
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
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Awesome setup Chris! Looks great!

The plants look great too!

I love soil blocks. That's a cool idea too using the wood to wick some of the moisture.

I think I'm going to do soil blocks also this year for some of my transplants for seeds that are hard to germinate.

Thanks for sharing this!
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Location: morocco
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beautiful go on
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