My new raised bed garden has been amazingly productive. The large leaves of the squash and zucchini are providing a little shade for some of those that prefer less than total sunshine. That is a bonus in sunny central Texas.
I planted herbs and flowers in the holes in the concrete blocks. I also planted the lettuce, radishes and spinach early then later sowed the squash, peppers and tomatoes between the rows. As the early crops were harvested, the later crops grew into that space.
By Robin Brady from Meridian, Texas
I have a series of photos from the beginning of the project. I put down landscape fabric that came in four foot widths. Then we dry stacked the blocks two high overlapping for more stability. I filled the bottom half with top soil from my acreage (we were doing some drainage work.) The top half to within about 6 inches of the top of the blocks was compost from a dairy.
I filled the openings in the blocks with soil topped with potting soil mixed with compost.
I do believe you can paint the blocks and I may do that eventually.
This is when the early crops were filling in and the later crops were planted between the rows. I did plant squash and zucchini with my other crops but next year plan to have one bed devoted just to them. They take lots of space. And probably another just for tomatoes.
Think of the possibilities of bending PVC pipe over this and covering with plastic to create a greenhouse environment. I just need to figure out how to vent since the sun can really heat up here in Texas - even in the winter.
One more that shows an even later view. I actually pulled out two squash plants today to give a tomato (which is covered in fruit) more room. I have neglected to put up a cage around the tomatoes and planned to put one large cage made out of fence posts inserted into the blocks, then wrapped with fencing with openings large enough to fit my hand.
We have been using concrete blocks for raised bed gardening for three years. They are heavy, but once placed, you don't have to worry about them anymore! We are expanding our garden (and reconfiguring to make the best of our space) this year.