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Friday, September 5, 2014

Cinder Block Garden

Well, even though my veggie re-grow project isn't going so well, it is still garden starting time.  I have tried several different techniques over the years.  Some work, some don't.  I know that I am NOT a good container gardener.  I have a yard, so I have pretty much given up on that.

Since moving in, I have had my eye on a section of the yard that I can keep the dogs out of.  What do you do with that strip of yard on the side of the house anyhow?  Mow it.  Yup.  That's about it.  You can't see it from most of the rest of the yard, so I blocked it off and declared that my garden!

This isn't a perfectly square area, so I figured that cinder blocks would be the most forgiving for an above ground garden.  I didn't have the time, or tools do dig into the ground and with the neighbors house so close I didn't want to deal with underground pipes and wires and stuff.

To begin with, we bought the cinder blocks and a bunch of dirt (garden soil and manure).  I wasn't sure how this was going to work, but knew that I wanted the 'sections' to be smallish so I could add on, and get to all parts of that section (walk on the cinder block!)

We started with the blocks being two blocks high.  As you can see, they are not perfectly square, but all closed up.  The rocks were already there (the yard was full of all kinds of stuff like rock when we moved in - just another reason I didn't want to till all of the ground).

We used the rocks as one layer of weed barrier, then grabbed some old newspaper and scratch paper for another layer of weed protection.  I save old paper - you know, the bad copies from the copier, card board boxes, papers you would normally recycle - and use it for weed barrier.  It decomposes and keeps your garden weed free for years (you only have bird drop weeds to deal with now).

We had the paper go partially up the side of the cinder blocks.  I had read somewhere that these blocks could contain a chemical, so this keeps that chemical from getting into my food - if there is no chemical, it's just more compost :)

Then the compost was added.  I have been composting for about a year and the bucket was getting really full.  Time to use it!  We had fun with this part because as soon as it was dumped we had a whole ecosystem to watch!   There were frogs and words galore!  We are a nature loving family.

 We also noticed what takes super long to compost.  You can see the orange mini gourd from Halloween.  It's almost a year old!  It started to rot in under a month inside, put it in compost and it never goes away!  Hmmm

Now to get the rest of the dirt.  Not sure why I wanted the compost on bottom, maybe because it was right by the garden and I didn't want to forget it.  Either way - this was a family project.  Even Baby Girl was hauling dirt.

This section is our trial section.  This is to see if we can keep up with the garden (lots going on!) and not kill everything.

On the left there are snow peas and green beans.  In the middle back we have grape tomatoes.  In front of the grape tomatoes is jalapeno.  Finally, on the far right there are 2 big boy tomato plants.

What is the best garden you have grown?  What grows best for you?

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