Gardening Installing a garden

A Raised Bed with Cinder Blocks

20160502ATo quickly install a garden that will give height to your landscape, why not simply use cinder blocks (hollow, stackable concrete blocks)? They can be placed on any flat surface, even on asphalt, concrete or crushed stone. And all you have to do is to fill the openings with top-quality garden soil (no drainage layer is necessary or even desirable) and install the plants of your choice. Ideally, small to medium-sized plants, given the fairly small growing space offered.

20160502B.jpgAnother possibility is to use cinder blocks to create a raised bed. Simply form a rectangle with the blocks and fill it with soil. You can then garden both inside the garden thus formed as well as planting inside the blocks.

Note that concrete is alkaline but very stable. It is unlikely to leach to any degree and therefore won’t affect the pH of the soil. Concrete dust, though, a result of the manufacturing process, could have an effect, so it would be wise to hose the blocks down before adding soil.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

2 comments on “A Raised Bed with Cinder Blocks

  1. Norma Sweet

    Any danger planting vegetables

    • You sometimes see sources warning that concrete blocks can give off heavy metals… yet they never offer any proof of what they claim. There are, however, serious scientific studies showing that concrete blocks DON’T release heavy metals. As a result, you’ll find that serious organic gardening promoters accept concrete block gardens as acceptable. The planting holes in the blocks themselves, however, are too small for larger vegetables and they’ll soon suffer from lack of water. You’ll have to stick to smaller ones.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: