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Raised bed question

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Raised bed question

Post  ronbart on 2/13/2017, 11:12 am

Last fall I replaced my rotting wooden beds with cinder blocks two tiers high and slightly buried to adjust for ground level. I had planned to fill the openings with AB3 and spraying them with lawn iron to color and age them. I know some people plant in the openings. Do you have problems with the bocks shifting or breaking from freeze thaw action. Also does the soil in the blocks affect the heat transfer to the soil in the beds from the blocks.
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Blocks

Post  zackshea on 2/13/2017, 12:40 pm

I have had a 4 x 15 cinder block bed for 3 years now.  I haven't experienced any shifting or breakdown at all.  When I laid it down, I used sand to level it.  I grow strawberries, herbs, and various flowers that the bees enjoy in all the holes.  I like this bed better than my other types - plastic wood and natural wood beds.
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Blocks

Post  zackshea on 2/13/2017, 12:45 pm

Keep an eye on the moisture in the block openings soil if you plant in them.  They tend to dry out a little faster.  Strawberries need to be kept moist at the surface since their roots are shallow.  At one end of the bed, I grow nasturtium that flows down and covers the cinder block wall.  It looks amazing when it blooms and attracts lots of pollinators.  You can eat the leaves and flowers if you like a black-peppery taste in your salad!
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Re: Raised bed question

Post  Scorpio Rising on 2/14/2017, 1:18 am

I grew nasturtiums last year for the first time, in containers and the ground.  They were gorgeous all summer, killing it with flowers, vining and great!   The ground ones. Did better, more nutrients and moisture.  

Lovely flower.  Bloomed until freeze.
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Re: Raised bed question

Post  ronbart on 2/14/2017, 8:00 am

@zackshea wrote:Keep an eye on the moisture in the block openings soil if you plant in them.  They tend to dry out a little faster.  Strawberries need to be kept moist at the surface since their roots are shallow.  At one end of the bed, I grow nasturtium that flows down and covers the cinder block wall.  It looks amazing when it blooms and attracts lots of pollinators.  You can eat the leaves and flowers if you like a black-peppery taste in your salad!
I figured that moisture would be a problem. Summers here can be brutal. How do you water your beds? I am switching to drip irrigation from a couple of rain barrels using spaghetti tubes to individual plants. That would make watering the blocks a problem. Our winter temps fluctuate pretty wildly here. I was mainly concerned with the dry stack blocks shifting or even breaking from a wet soil plug freezing.
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Blocks

Post  zackshea on 2/14/2017, 9:12 am

Our weather here destroys roads with potholes so I know how you feel.  That said, I haven't noticed any issues with my blocks with the freezing and unfreezing.  I do have to water the plants in the holes by hand with filtered water from my hose.  Not ideal, but I usually task my 3 year old daughter with that one Smile
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Nasturtiums

Post  zackshea on 2/14/2017, 9:16 am

Yes, they thrive when planted in the ground.  They have a tap root that digs deep.  My cinder block holes are stacked 2 high but they do have access straight to the good Pennsylvania soil underneath so the nasturtium love it in the holes.
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