There are a few posts on our blog about the raised beds made with concrete blocks I’ve been putting into my half of garden. The original idea was to plant herbs, strawberries and other plants in the 4″ holes in each of the 4x8x16 commons outlining the garden beds. (Here’s a picture of some lettuce growing in the holes of the beds last summer).

Cute idea, and theoretically it would have worked out great. But the holes became serious weeding nightmares. It didn’t take long before they all started to look like this:

Crab grass growing in concrete block holes

Crab grass growing in concrete block holes

It is virtually impossible to weed crab grass out of holes that small.

The solution? More blocks, of course!

Patio blocks covering holes

Patio blocks covering holes

I decided to ditch the holes in the blocks for the new beds I’m putting in. Cost was nearly the same (it’s about the same amount of concrete in the larger blocks with holes and the smaller blocks without), but I ended up spending more in the long run ordering patio blocks to cover the existing beds.

I’ve put in 147 – 33lb concrete blocks so far. Only 117 to go — making progress!

Raised bed progress - only 117 more blocks to go!

Raised bed progress – only 117 more blocks to go!

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6 Responses

  1. Eyeballing. They are by no means perfect, but so far I have been able to match up the first block I put in with the last on each bed…so not too bad πŸ™‚ The ground itself is terribly uneven, so trying to do a perfect job would require quite a bit of re-landscaping which I didn’t really want to do. We’ll see how things look when it’s all done!

  2. Angela

    Please do not take this as a criticism, but I have been reading through many of your posts and I am in utter amazement at the way weeds grow in your garden! We are in maple grove and have solid clay soil. I have to fight all my plants to get them to grow at all (full sun, plenty of compost and organic fertilizer). I can leave the soil bear for months and not have 1 weed. Its a blessing and a curse…for both of us I guess.

    You must have good fertile soil and im guessing sand if you are near anoka. I am wanting to grow purslane and your bed full of it as a weed shocked me. It scared me out of adding it to my bed, but then again it may barely grow. Lol

    I hope you are free from tomato blight this season. Happy growing.

  3. HI Angela,

    Thanks for your comment! I am jealous of your lack of weeds πŸ™‚ We have had 5 giant dump truck loads of black dirt/compost brought in over the past few years – otherwise, yes it is all sand here near Anoka. I’m pretty sure a lot of the weeds were brought in with the compost, but a lot of them are also just native here…and grass. They aren’t too hard to keep at bay when we have the time to weed and put down mulch.

    Good luck with the purslane! If it starts to spread out of control for you, the best thing I’ve heard is to make sure you get it all out when weeding, and don’t leave any pieces behind, as the broken plants will take root and just spread more quickly. I’m guessing that in our case, poor weeding, or raking/hoeing to thin out the weeds, actually caused the purslane to spread more quickly.

    Happy growing to you too!!

  4. Amanda

    I started with the regular cinderblocks with holes, then added another layer for height. I should have started with the solid block but I like the sturdyness of the ones with holes stacked two high for sure. I am about to get some of the solid blocks in hopes to stop the rhizome type grass ( maybe it’s crab grass) from going crazy in them just like you. A bonus is it will give me a nice spot too sit on the beds lol. Did you get the 2” or 4” thick blocks as cappers on the 8/8/16 regular blocks. I can’t decide since I just want them to cap off for weeds…hard choice.

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