Create Easy, Low-Cost Raised Garden Beds

You can use recycled cement blocks to build inexpensive permanent garden beds.
February/March 2012
http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/raised-garden-beds-zm0z12fmzhun.aspx
Dedicated garden beds make gardening easier and soil healthier.


PHOTO: AMANDA WAREING

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