Create Easy, Low-Cost Raised Garden Beds

You can use recycled cement blocks to build inexpensive permanent garden beds.
By Amanda Wareing
February/March 2012
Add to My MSN

Dedicated garden beds make gardening easier and soil healthier.
PHOTO: AMANDA WAREING


Content Tools

Related Content

Sun Powers More Than Rice Fields

Lundberg Family Farms announces the opening of a new warehouse that is powered by 100% solar energy....

Make Gardening Easier: Build Permanent Beds and Paths

MOTHER EARTH NEWS Associate Editor Shelley Stonebrook offers tips for building permanent garden beds...

Is the Original CINVA Ram Still Available for Making Compressed Earth Blocks?

Here's where you can find or build a press for making compressed earth blocks, and some helpful advi...

Getting Paid for What I Love to Do

This summer Cam became a market gardener and actually got paid for something he loves to do - grow v...

My husband and I used recycled cement blocks to build our raised garden beds. The resulting gardens have been easy to maintain, and everyone who sees them comments on how attractive they are.

The cement blocks create a distinct edge between the permanent garden beds and the walkways so that the walkways can remain grass and can still be easily mowed or trimmed right up to the edge of the beds. This cuts out the extra work of weeding or mulching walkways.

Finding cement blocks for the project was surprisingly easy and affordable. We put an ad in our local free classifieds paper saying we wanted cement blocks, new or used. We got calls from people who had new blocks leftover from building projects or used blocks from demolished buildings. All told, we only paid an average of 40 cents per block.

These beds are not suited to using a large tiller, but because we never walk in them, all of our beds are double-dug and require only cultivation with hand tools. I use the holes in the cement blocks to plant flowers and herbs, such as dwarf marigolds, petunias, zinnias and basil. I would recommend this setup to anyone looking to build a permanent garden that’s easy to manage.

Amanda Wareing
Pilot, Virginia

For more on the benefits of permanent garden beds, see Care and Cultivation of Permanent Garden Beds. — MOTHER 








Post a comment below.

 

Judy Pennington
3/9/2012 8:20:24 PM
I have very limited space, will be doing some container garden on my deck, but I have a lot of cement bricks and not a lot of bending ability. If I was able to water them as needed, couldn't I just plant some of my veggies like peppers and such (bush type plants) in the blocks themselves. I thought about laying one down with the holes to the sides and then one on top to fill with dirt. Just line them in rows then I could tend them much easier, even from a chair. I have large tub type containers to put my tomatoes in.








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.