Last year we installed one cinder block raised garden bed. We hoped to do three but our bodies and budget gave out at one.
Great news! We built the other two raised beds this year! Yay!
There’s nothing quite like growing your own food and I’m anxious to get going again this year! After planting a tad too early last year, we are exercising our patience and waiting for Mother Earth News to tell us when to plant. It’s really quite slick! Just head over to What to Plant Now, click on ‘view planting dates’, enter your zip code and email address and it will send you a handy dandy email when it’s time to plant! Pretty cool, huh?!
How to Build a Cinder Block Raised Garden Bed
Here’s the area we are working on. One lonely cinder block raised garden bed and a whole bunch of moss with a splattering of grass.
First, we laid out the cinder blocks where we wanted them.
These cinder blocks are 8″X8″X16″ @ $1.32/each (Home Depot). The long sides of the garden bed have eight cinder blocks and the ends have three for a total of 22 cinder blocks per raised bed.
Total cost for one bed (22 cinder blocks) was $29.04 + tax.
We plan to eventually add a second row of cinder blocks to match the center raised garden bed. It isn’t necessary but would make it easier on our backs! Perhaps next year!
Of course, the ground isn’t even so we either dug a little of the grass out underneath or used a bit of sand to make the cinder blocks line up. It really wasn’t too bad.
We used painter’s paper from the paint section at Home Depot in the bottom of our beds. Newspaper or cardboard work great too!
A half yard of a compost/topsoil mix was used to fill both beds. They aren’t completely full but it works!
Wondering what all that cardboard is about?! I knew you were!
Our original plan was to rent a sod cutter and remove the moss/grass, bring in a load of sand, and lay flagstone around our cinder block raised garden beds.
We decided our budget would like us better if we used pea gravel and, hey, why not just lay cardboard over the grass and dump the pea gravel right on top?!
It was an easier and less costly option.
Blake dug out a trench for edging. We used the black plastic edging but, I have to say, I’m not too impressed. Someday we will have that cool concrete edging!
And voila! We are ready to plant!
Now the question is … what do I plant where?! Check out these plant companions for ten common vegetables. It’s a great resource for plant friends and foes.
Every morning I open our blinds to this fun view. It will be even better when it’s full of scrumptious veggies!
I love walking barefoot on the pea gravel. It’s a great way to get a little ‘earthing’ in. I’ll take that over an earthing mat any day! Of course, the beach would be even better but we work with what we have!
Favorite Gardening Resources:
Mother Earth News will send you emails when it’s time to plant!
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is where you will find garden friends and foes.
Old World Garden Farms is one of my favorite gardening blogs. If you love to garden, I would suggest subscribing to their site and you will receive super useful emails full of great gardening information just when you need it!
Another helpful blog post is How To Grow A Vegetable Garden by Ruth at Living Well Spending Less.
Twenty-two cinder blocks, 1/4 yard of topsoil/compost mix and you’re in business! The rest … well, that’s just for fun!
Update: It has been brought to my attention that it may not be in our best interest to use cinder blocks for our garden beds. There may or may not be heavy metals that will leach into the soil and possibly the plants.
Read more about the use of concrete blocks here:
There is also a discussion on the use of cinder blocks here.
Check out my disclaimer