As part of the Shire’s commitment to keep materials out of the waste stream, I use soil blocks for my seedling starts instead of plastic seed starters. Soil blocks are compressed cubes of a special mix of peat moss and other amendments. Last year I used the loader bucket of the tractor to mix everything, but that was hard even though the bucket is pretty large.
These sifters are wonderful tools. Built to fit on my garden carts, I have about five progressively smaller screens, and use them to dry produce, clean things, and here, to sift the rocks out of the sand, which is another important component of the soil mix.
After the peat, lime, compost and sand are kicked all together (great exercise!), it’s time to add the nutrients. These ingredients are naturally occurring nutrients that farmers have been using for millennia–rock phosphate dust, greensand (or glauconite), and blood meal.
The final ingredient is actual good dirt from a garden bed that preferably grew onions last year–this mix is by no means the sterile potting mix you find in stores. But I think that is quite appropriate–to introduce the bio-dynamics early to the plants, so that the plants don’t start out as pansies–unless they’re pansies, of course!