Ugly, But Free, A Raised Bed Garden Made of Cinder (Concrete) Blocks

raised garden bed
Simple Raised Bed of Cinder-Blocks

Oh how I’d love to have the land in that picture I used! It’s not my yard. I don’t have a big sunny parcel of land. Because of that, it makes growing vegetables, in our short, New England growing season, tough to do. The sun is scarce in my yard, which is surrounded by tall pines and hardwood trees. My yard is also small. I’m always on the lookout for solutions to these problems so I can grow more crops.

This idea of making a raised bed from cinder-blocks is not mine. I saw it in the “Organic Gardening” book.  It looks ugly, but it was free to build because I already had the blocks.

When I came across an article in the magazine which showed five types of alternative raised beds, the concrete block one jumped out at me.  I could do this!

dsc07551
Shade is a problem when it comes to vegetable gardening in a small yard

The thought of having another sunny spot to grow vegetables stuck in my mind as winter carried on.  I would have to lug the blocks up a hill to my front yard because that was the sunny spot.  While I waited for the mud to dry up in spring, I watched the path of the sun to decide the best location for my new patch of dirt.

Once the garden loam was delivered, I enlisted my teenage son to help me move the blocks – those suckers are heavy! I used the wheelbarrow to fill the space with dirt and some compost, and then planted the rest a tomato and zucchini in there.  It’s not a huge garden, but it did give me some extra growing space.

dsc05427This was an experiment for me, and I’m not raised bed savvy.  It was a quick fix for lack of garden space and I did get vegetables to grow there.  Since then I have learned a bit more about raised bed gardening and am beginning a new raised bed garden (made of wood this time) in my Florida home.

An even easier idea is to buy fabric bags and use them as raised beds.  They work well for many types of vegetables.

Early Spring In My New England Garden

Here are some pictures of what is growing in my New England garden this time of year. April is early Spring and planting anything outdoors that is susceptible to frost, in this area, is not advised until at least late May. These are the perennials that are blooming or just beginning to grow.

Did you know that chives will come back each year?  I’ve already used some in my cooking, and the clump is looking good already.  I need to get parsley soon.  That has become one of my favorites for the garden, and it can take the cold.

The peonies and bleeding hearts are sending up shoots and the hostas are just pushing through the ground.  The Coral Bells kept many of it’s leaves and new ones are growing from the center.
Not much is happening with my hydrangeas yet, but the macrophyllas seem to be starting with leaves and growth more so than the paniculatas.
I had wanted this to be a slide show, but as usual, I can’t figure out how to make that happen. It seems that even though I use WordPress for most all my blogs, each theme works differently and I can’t see a slide show option for this one.
So enjoy the big photos instead.

lenton rose bush
Lenton Rose
chives
chives
Peony
Peony
perennial coral bells
Coral Bells
early spring flowers
Spring Promise “Emma”

I have some Blue Flower Pictures at a previous post.

I’m Not a Big Fan of Springtime

Garden with some tulips and narcissus
Garden with some tulips and narcissus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a big fan of Spring. When I lived in Florida our “spring” was one of the best times of year. In Florida, “Spring” is really not much different than any other time of year, it’s just not as hot as summer. We knew that the heat was coming back again shortly, so we relished the last of the nicer weather while we could.
Now that I live in the northeast, I find Springtime to be one of the most dismal times of the year. Continue reading “I’m Not a Big Fan of Springtime”

Experimenting With A Climbing Hydrangea

potted hydrangea plants
New Hydrangea Plants -bought in 2012

I don’t have a picture of one, but maybe one day I will – the climbing hydrangea will be something new to play with this summer.

From what I’ve read about the climbing hydrangea (and there are many types – and I am researching which one I may want), is that it is a hardy perennial and gets very large. Anyone wanting a climbing hydrangea will need a very sturdy structure for it to cling to.

I had never thought about trying to grow this type, but my new house has a tall, ugly tree trunk in the side yard. I can only guess that the tree broke off in our horrific ice storm a few years ago and left this part of the trunk standing. Fortunately the tree broke away from the house because it was one very big tree and parts of the top are laying in the woods near the base.

But, I think it may be a good spot to grow a climbing hydrangea. The area will get some sun, but not much and that is my main concern. If climbing hydrangeas need sun, it won’t see much until it begins to climb the tree.

I called a local nursery yesterday to ask if they have the climbing hydrangeas and they do! It’s the House By The Side of The Road in Wilton, NH and it’s the same place I bought my 6 new plants last Spring around Mother’s Day, which is a great time to shop for the newest selection of hydrangeas.