But it turned out so long I'll make a new one.
Cinderblock for your garden has good and bad qualities.
On the good side:
- it is insulating weather-wise, as it is essentially a double layer of cement with air between
- it has holes which will grow many things as well as the space you have in the beds. I once by accident grew a small bell pepper plant in one that went deep, and basil in a couple!
- it is more affordable than most any other building material
- it's heavy enough not much will mess it up even if you don't mortar it but just stack them neatly in cross pattern (the larger 8x8x16 anyway)
- and they stack vertically so standing gardens for people with 'limited mobility' - whether from age, disability, overweight, or whatever - are very cool
- If you have some obnoxious wall from a neighbor's yard, just put a row of brick 2-4 feet away from it and it'll become the other side of your garden, rather than the neighbor's ugly wall. :-)
On the down side:
- it tends to absorb water a little, so the soil around the edges is prone to get dryer
- bugs especially spiders just LOVE LOVE LOVE the "holes". Here is my advice: fill them to the top with SOIL and plant flowers in them rather than leaving them 'open'
- I've heard rumor that cinderblock "leeches cement chemical into the soil" but you know what, I haven't had the slightest problem with plants growing amazingly, so either that is BS or the amount is simply too small and too near the very edges, which are constantly 'rinsed' as the watering happens, to matter. But in case it's true I should mention it here.
- It's heavy as hell, so the initial setup is work.
- Grey is not very cheerful. Ok that's trivial, but still. ;-)
There is one redeeming factor about having four "walls" on every garden bed though: they are PAINTABLE.
There is a product called Killz that is white paint that will cover and stop just about anything you can imagine, on just about any surface. But it's expensive, so just go to walmart and ask them for the local no-name equivalent. ;-) It's just as good it seems and it's vastly cheaper.
After that, you can paint anything you want on it, using outdoor paint or whatever. If your teenager is into graffiti, tell him to show you a beautiful picture design demo on paper, and you'll let him spray paint it on a garden wall. ;-) If you have small kids, have a Garden Party and say with the invitation to wear paint-clothes and that every kid gets a brick to paint their own a picture on. If you have anybody artistic around, they can make each brick a tiny work of art, or make a 'mural' on a whole wall. -- No more boring grey! It's a whole canvas of creative opportunity that your average garden-in-the-ground doesn't offer.
I'm hoping to do a little of this, this year. Er, either with templates or other people, because I have ZERO artistic talent. ;-) I'll post pics eventually!