We did get a great harvest of beans, cucumbers, eggplants & some pumpkins – but our tomatoes, peas, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, squash and zucchini didn’t do so well – some didn’t grow at all, others just didn’t produce any vegetables.
After carefully evaluating the sun’s trek across our lawn this summer, we decided to optimize our lawn by building simple raise beds with cinder blocks in front of our porch. This area gets sunlight from about 10am-7pm and is right outside of our back door, making it easily accessible and freeing up the rest of the lawn for the kiddo to practice soccer in.
We will be moving our fire pit, and building four more raise beds, two rows of three beds, with enough space between the beds for the lawn mower to fit through. The idea of using the cinder blocks is to maximize planting space – we will be building teepee like structures from lattice between the beds (where the fire pit is currently) and planting beans in the cinder blocks closest to the lattice to climb up it, and in the other three sides planting marigolds, which help repel certain insects that invade gardens.
Each raise bed will be about 3×3 feet, made of twelve cinder blocks, the perfect size for small plots to feed our little family & maybe produce enough to share with the neighbors. Or if the cucumbers do as well next year as they did this year, we may just have to learn how to can food!
Since we are getting an early start on these beds, we are gathering yard waste and composting inside each bed over the fall & winter to reduce the amount of soil we need to purchase this spring.
To make two raise beds, it cost us $34.76 and took less than half an hour to set up. You could also probably get cinder blocks from Craigslist for less (or free), but this was a spur of the moment idea while we were at Lowe’s so decided to buy the supplies & test out this layout. We really like it & can’t wait to plant our garden next spring!
Do you garden? If so, do you prefer raise beds or planting straight into the ground?