JOHN Alright this is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens Today we have another exciting episode for you we’re here at the CindRLite Blocks, Sunblocks and Bricks and why we’re here today is actually I’m going to build a new raised bed and finding the best material to build my raised bed out of and that is the concrete blocks, much like the what is it the three little pigs fairy tale where the one pig built his house our of straw, which you can build a raised bed out of just get straw bales, the other pig built his house.
Out of wood which the big bad wolf blew down and one pig built his house out of bricks or concrete blocks that the wolf could not get into and the other little piggies were safe. So today I’m actually here to research and find some blocks that I’m going to build my raised bed out of. You know, this is the best option for me to build my raised bed because it’s not wood that may degrade in the weather or some kind of plastic wood or some other material, something that’s been.
Here for a long time. So let’s head to the yard and check out what we got. Alright, so as you guys can see we’re in the yard, actually I’m just looking at all these blocks just stacked up all over the place, totally insane. I’m going to find the best block that’s going to work for me so I can make a raised bed out of bricks instead of wood. Alright, these are the blocks that I’ve been looking for laugh. Check it out, so these guys are just solid blocks and they’re.
How to Build a Concrete Block Raised Bed Garden without Mortar
Nice and heavy duty here and basically what I’m going to do is I’ going to take these guys and line them up. Oh and check it out man, these ones are cool they even have a decorative on the edges, so actually that’s kind of cool instead of the just plain flat look here, like on this guys. They got all this different kind of options, you know. This is just flat if you want that flat look on both sides. This one actually has a design in it it’s a straight line kind of indentation. That’s kind of cool.
They’ve got different patterns. I definitely like this pattern that kind of breaks it up, makes it look a little more interesting. Of course they got different colors here, so they got like this color here oh man, check this out! This is cool, I like this one the most actually, that’s like a sanded look there, that looks pretty cool, that’s a nice decorative there on that one. They got so many different kinds I would’ve not known this if I didn’t come out here to walk because the guy in the store, the shop, said oh.
Yeah we got this, this and this but yeah man, definitely like this guy. It looks kind of like marble or something, it looks kind of fancy. Then of course you know you could just get the standard ones, just the gray ones or the tan ones, the tan flat ones, and then here’s another kind right here actually they got all different kinds of ones here. Oh look at this, these ones are cool, they’re taller. That’s ultimate dude! It’s just one block. There’s another one right here it just has.
Cut outs on both sides, I don’t like that one so much for a raised bed, but I think this guy right here, I like it because it’s just so tall and this is like a large block here so I will not have to double stack the blocks. Here are of course those standard red ones and then we get into these guys that are hollow on the top so those ones won’t necessarily work for me. So another option is these guys but the problem with these guys is they’re just too dang thin and although they’re pretty good size if you stack them.
Up this is prone to fall over unless you maybe like glue something together to reinforce them so I’m just definitely not going to go with these cheap thing guys here. Scene change So I finally decided on the blocks I got, we got home here and got the Jeep loaded up with the blocks. Now hits car oops! So each one of these blocks weights like 31 pounds so it’s very important and critical that you do not overload your car. I loaded m car until the wheel wells and the tires were kind of low and stuff and I’.
Like that’s probably enough and I fit 75 block in here so that’s a fair bit of weight and drove home, slow on the way home and over no major bumps, potholes or anything like that and we made two trips so I got 150 total blocks here and I did show you guys some of the different block options earlier in the tutorial and the block that I liked the best was the biggest one that had that little line, the V groove, in it and actually they don’t sell those, those are waiting to be processed because they put them.
In a machine and then it basically comes down with a little chisel and it basically splits them. So they couldn’t actually sell me those blocks and if they did they’d have to sell me the cut price times 2 which I found out is actually quite expensive. So the block I liked the most which had that kind of cool finish on it, looked like granite I said, that was like 4 bucks! Like one block! Man, I’d go broke if I’d bought that many blocks. The block I liked that had that chiseled face.
With like a different kind of shape on it, that was like a dollar more and these and that was like $2.80 a block. So then I got into the low range blocks the cheapest blocks were $1.69 and they’re just these blocks just in a gray color. So because this is something I’m going to have to live with and look at every day and you guys will be seeing in tutorials a lot now, I decided to go with a different color. So they have 4 different color options.
Including a red, a brown, a tan and some other color but, I decided to go with this guys this is the lightest color and they look kind of nice. So I wanted to get a light color because I didn’t want it to be too dark and absorb too much sun especially in the summer time when that may tend to dry out near the edges in the beds. Also these will act out as heat sinks in the winter time so actually the sun will be out, these will get warmer and actually help warm up the soil. Now as I alluded to.
Earlier in this tutorial there’s many different options you have when building a raised bed. In this particular situation I’m choosing to go with the bricks. We could’ve went with like a plastic lumber which I’m not a super fan of plastic you know it’s a manmade material made out of petroleum products and all this kind of stuff and I have used plastic in the other half of my garden here when that was an affordable option for me but I’ve decided to step it up a notch. Of course I could’ve went with the wood and then treated.
The wood with a nontoxic stain and you know I do have tutorials if you do and are going to use wood on the products I recommend to stain your wood so they will last longer but I didn’t have to deal with the warping the cracking and it just breaking down over time and so the concrete blocks are my choice. They’re heavy duty, they’re solid and in addition because this is a nice 4 inch width it’s not going to easily tip over and it’s actually a nice place to sit down when I want to work on my raised bed.
Another reason we went with the concrete blocks is because these guys are movable, you know. If I want to reconfigure my back yard, if I want to use these for something else, if I want to sell them later down the road, you know I’m not going to mortar these guys in, I’m just going to set them down next to each other, bud them up against each other. They’re not going to move they’re so heavy so I can have my raised beds now and later on if I move or whatever I can bring these with me if I want to, I can leave them, I.
Could take them away and sell them, I mean so many different things you can do and they’re also easy to transport, 31 pounds, I’m getting a nice workout lifting 150 of these guys out of my Jeep. Scene Change Alright, so now you can see we’re here in the backyard and in the background way back there you can see the other half of the back yard actually which I planted in round circular raised beds and at the time that I designed that and put that in I started with like 4 raised beds and the first thing.
I did was cleared and had a plan and actually you can check back my past episodes. I have a really good one hour long episode showing me the process of taking literally a weekend to put in 4 raised beds. Since that tutorial I’ve expanded and now I have twenty, a total of twenty 4foot circular raised beds on the other side of the yard so I never developed this side of the yard, I developed that side of the yard first because it’s the more sunny side, it gets more sun. Actually, right now it’s probably a quarter in the sun and.
This side has barely any sun at all. So, the first thing is before you start taking blocks and just putting them where you think you should, is actually make a plan, determine where you get the most amount of sun. The most amount of sun is going to equal the most amount of growth but, don’t be sad. John I don’t get no sun in my back yard, man! It’s on the wrong side of the house. Don’t fret you know the side I’m developing now doesn’t get much sun but this can actually be a benefit because guess what Some plants.
Don’t actually like full sun. Some plants don’t like to get overheated and what not. So I’m going to use the shade to my advantage and grow some crops that don’t actually need as much sun. So plants that need more sun in general are fruiting crops, thing like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants things that produce a fruit that you would eat. Thing that produce leaves such as leafy green vegetables, you know, kale, collards Bok choi, lettuce, spinach and herbs, guess what They don’t need as much sun so you can put those.
In a shady spot. So on this side where we’re more on the shade I’m going to be growing some leafy greens and herbs in the shady spots and some of this area that actually get more sun I’ll be growing some fruiting crops there. So, yeah, number one make a plan and what I’m going to do next is find the sunniest spots, put my bed there if I was only going to have one but I’m going to develop this whole half. I mean, it’s much more space efficient to have square boxes than round.
Ones. The round one where inexpensive but if I had to do it all over I wouldve just went with the blocks knowing that this is going to be a permanent installation and much smarter. At some point I’m going to probably tear out the round ones and put the square ones, the blocks, like I’m doing on this side, you know after I determine this works and in between my planting seasons. So yeah, I’m going to take a few papers out, take the tape measure and basically sketch out the measurements here and then figure.
Out how big my raised beds are going to be, how much the spacing in between the beds and where the walkway is going to be and then I’m just going to come back, lay the blocks down, put the irrigation system in, fill them up and plant them out. So this will be a collection of tutorials, this one just has to do with setting the blocks up and making the raised beds so if you’re not subscribed to my YouTube channel make sure to check my past tutorials and subscribe.
To my YouTube channel for the rest of this series on how to build a block garden. Alright, pretty much my last measurement, 9 foot 6 inches, we’re going to go ahead and put this on the little map here that I’m making, layout. You will also want to note any kind of existing irrigation system, so here’s where a sprinkler pops up. This will definitely be useful because what I’ll be doing is actually I’ll be tying in the existing irrigation system, when there was a lawn here, into my raised beds so they can get automatically.
Watered. Next I’m going to go ahead and go inside, log this in the computer and start playing house. Scene Change Alright, so I’ve been moving the bricks to the back here and got the plan and all set up so at this point you want to do two things number one, you’re probably going to want to put in your irrigation if you own your home. If you rent then you’re maybe going to want to put irrigation on top of the soil so that you can take it off and take it with you. I’m actually putting the.
Irrigation underneath the soil, this is going to be a good long time installation here and so we dug all the trenches and we got all the blocks placed. So you can see here these are the blocks, we got a bed here against the wall here just about a foot long so I can just trellis and grow things up but in addition we have mostly free standing beds and this is what they look like once I got the blocks in place, so this is how we got all the blocks. Now, if you’re a nonperfectionist which.
I am not, you can probably set up the block any old way and fill it up with some dirt and be good and done with it and you got a raised bed. You know, unfortunately my mother raised my as a perfectionist so things got to look right, got to look perfect, I want everything all leveled and all this stuff so I’m going to explain how to do that if you guys want to do that. I mean it’s really easy, just going to take some time. What you’re going to do here is we got some sand and this was bought in bulk to I just.
Bagged it up into individual bags so it’s easy to work with and carry and all you literally have to do is just you’re going to have to go ahead and pull a string and you’re going to have to have the good level here and, you know, you’re going to check the slope and Wow! My property is slopped down we have to bring up that side significantly. So then all you do is just move the block away, lay your sand down, put the block back on and we tap it down and make sure you’re leveled and continue to do the next one. Now,.
Because I’m severely OCD just doing this project and all the blocks would probably take my like a week to finish. I don’t have the time to do that I got to put out tutorials for you guys and all the kind of stuff and live out my normal life as well. So instead of doing this all myself, which you guys could do, I decided to bring in the experts so I got a 40 year brick layer who does this professionally and he takes side jobs, to level all this.
Out and put this in for me. This is truly old world craftsmanship. Alright, so now I’m going to show you guys what my raised beds are looking like after it’s been professionally laid out, leveled and everything. I’m definitely really happy with them. So here are my raised beds, we have three raised beds that are quite long they’re like 4 feet by like 16 feet and they’re coming out quite good. We got the irrigation system in and I’m piling the bottom with some inexpensive cheap compost that I would not recommend if you live in Vegas it’s A1 Organics, I made a.
Tutorial there and actually they requested that I remove it from public view so it’s no longer available and I mean this stuff stinks and I’m not really a big fan of, especially, the bigger problem with me is they just don’t want to be transparent and show people the products that they’re offering, they actually limit the information about it and when companies are shady I really can’t recommend them plus the compost stinks. I’ve got to fill up this beds which are actually quite tall so I’m layering it on.
The bottom level that probably the roots for most plants that I’m planting will not even get down there, so it’s just going to sit down there, compost further with the earthworms and all that kind of stuff and hopefully break down more because I’m going to put good stuff on and be sure to stay tuned for a future episode on my soil recommendations if you do live in Vegas. As you guys can see they’re hard at work here, Alberto and his team, getting this done for me and one of the things that I want to.
Say to you guys that, you know, I have some trust issues, like in relationships maybe that’s why I’m still single, but also just with hiring people to come in to do work because you never know the kind of job that you’re going to get. You know, contractor and what not, I’ve just heard some horror stories about getting ripped off and I’m glad that I found Alberto through a friend, through a referral and so I had a solid referral and I’m using him and he’s working great for me so actually if you’re looking for.
Someone to install your block raised bed garden or any kind of stucco work or even if you need somebody also doing the irrigation bringing the soil, I mean if you have an empty back yard and you’re not handy, you can hire him at actually a quite affordable price and he’s going to do great work for you so you can start growing. Let’s see let’s go ahead and check out some level on this. Check it out here this is pretty doggone level here, its right in the middle. Now I can’t guarantee that.
Every bed is exactly level like this but, you know what If I’m looking at this and it looks leveled to me it’s close enough for government work, close enough for me because I’m glad I’m going to be able to walk outside in the back patio and look at my raised beds all completely leveled, filled up and soon enough growing with a lot of things that I’m going to be eating. Scene Change Alright, so I’m so excited to show you guys my raised bed block garden, this is totally exciting. As you enter the.
Back yard here you can see off to one side I got a 16inch wide bed all the way down and it’s two blocks high, this will allow me to grow thing vertically up the wall and I’m going to have to figure out some kind of trellising system, that really cool. And here’s all the raised bed we got one, two, three, four, five raised beds including the wall that a total of six and this is how it looks, two blocks high. They’ve painstakingly leveled it out using sand and digging it out in areas and raising it up in some areas so.
All these beds are the same exact height. You know, this cost a bit more but it was worth it to me because I’m going to have to look at this every day and this is going to be here to stay, I mean these are concrete blocks it’s not like wood that may rot out and all this kind of stuff. These are permanent so I want to get a good permanent installation that was done professionally because, I mean, yeah I could’ve done it but it probably wouldn’t be this nice and it probably would’ve taken me a lot of time.
So we got the irrigation system set up and this will be actually shown to you guys in another episode, how we did the irrigation and the new aquajet irrigation system that I’m using. In addition I’m doing kind of a raised bed hugelkultur kind of thing. In hugelkultur the basically bury the wood down in the bed and that releases some of the moisture. I don’t have a ton of wood but we had to cut some trees to have access to this. So I’m just basically burying the wood down at the bottom of the.
Bed and then covering up with compost and then more compost and my planting mixture. This will basically rot out or compost over time and degrade, worms will come feast on that stuff and more importantly for me the fungal hyphae will be attracted to the wood and hopefully make their network down below. This is the bed that I did this the most in, the other beds don’t really have any so it’s going to be interesting to see if this bed grows better than the others, plus also this is a cheap filler because good soil here.
In the valley is actually quite hard to find. So that’s the bed here. This next bed I got it filled almost half way up and what we’re looking at in here is I put that inexpensive compost A1 Organics compost in the bottom and encapsulated it because if it was not encapsulated it would be stinking right now. Then I put some compost for you long time viewers that I got from a friend when she was moving out and we layered that on and I’m still going to have a good 8inch think of the top layer that I’m going.
To be putting on that is going to be the good growing mix and stay tuned for a future episode on the mixture I’ going to be using. It’s basically from Vera Grown in North Las Vegas. I guess going down this are all the beds, they’re all leveled out and this is going to be a fun one down here because all the raised beds have basically the race track aquajet, this is going to allow for maximum oxygenation of the root zone and definitely full coverage and I want to try this to see.
How it’s going to work, this way I’m 100 confident that this will definitely hit all the root zone and get the whole bed wet and keep everything watered. For fun and giggles we put in a single system, so this is how the aquajet was originally designed just for a single jet going both directions so I’m doing one as a tryout to wee what’s the difference in growth between doing a single or doing a double because this one right back behind it I don’t have the aquajet in yet but we’re doing it double and this is the.
Same bed and same basic amount of sun so this is definitely going to be cool and if that single doesn’t perform well I’ve got it piped in so I could double immediately because I just think that the dual aquajet is going to work a lot better. Now let me give you a quick heads up, the aquajet is basically a subsoil irrigation system that’s going to save 20 more water than my standard drip irrigation that I’m using on the other side plus it’s going to be really cool to see how much better the.
Plants grow on this side versus the other side where I have the drip irrigation. I have had some challenges with my drip irrigation in the past and with the aquajet and these new raised beds I think I’m going to rock it. Alright, now we have a special treat for you and I need to give a special thanks to Alberto and his crew that hooked me up and did all this raised bed stuff because I would not have been able to do it in a day like they did so I’m quite grateful, so let’s meet.
Him. Scene Change So that brings us to the end of this episode as you guys can see this whole job got done in one day, it would’ve probably taken me like a whole week of doing it here and there and then being all anal. Alberto did an amazing job and he’s available here in the Las Vegas area if you have a project to put in a raised bed garden in the back yard, any kind of concrete stucco work and even irrigation, bringing in the dirt. I mean, he’ll set you up I know he set me up and.