This Lego-Like Brick makes it easy to build a raised garden bed.


Gardening is a hobby that’s good for both body and mind, and this is especially true during a quarantine year. When the world is confusing, gardening is a peaceful and contemplative activity that gives me something to look at. And home-grown produce almost always tastes better than store-bought because it’s picked when it’s perfectly ripe. There’s also the added confidence of knowing exactly what went into the soil that produced it all.

You must first sow before your plants can be harvested. Although there is much to be thankful for, gardening is passive—simply watering, waiting, and watching—the hard work is all front-loaded: lifting bags of soil, compost, and fertilizer; tilling the earth; and, of course, You can build beds for your plants.

Last year, my partner and I moved into a new house—our first as homeowners. We were tired, our bank accounts were nearly empty, and we didn’t have many tools In the garage. We knew that we wanted a property. We knew exactly the property we wanted. Betts raised

Being a Wirecutter writer, I’d love to tell you that I obsessively researched the subject before building my garden Beds. I didn’t. Instead, my partner was at our local home-improvement super-center and stumbled upon Oldcastle’s Planter wall blocks.

“Hey,” She sent me a text message with a photo. “These look like they might work?”

I browsed the tomato starters as she browsed them. I quickly discovered that these bricks are a hit among people. Gardeners of all levels spoke in video after video to discuss the ease and cost-effectiveness of concrete blocks. offer. They also Shared tipsHow to best use them I was convinced. I ran outside to measure the space. I sent my friend the measurements. A few hours later, my friend received the dimensions.

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only Wirecutter staffer who was bewitched by these marvels of modern engineering: Two of my coworkers were building their own block-based beds at the same time. We were all amazed at how simple and affordable our gardens turned out to be.

Why is it important to have a raised garden bed?

In-ground gardening in fertile soil areas is possible. It is easy and cheap. You can amend your soil naturally and then go straight to planting.
But if you’re Dealing with a high water tableRaised-bed gardening is an excellent alternative to poor soil pH or a rocky hardpan layer (like mine). Building a Elevated bedYou can make the soil mixture that you desire from scratch. And you don’t have to deal with rocks, roots, and other obstacles to getting your plants seated in fertile ground. Central Oregon’s volcanic soil is a great place to grow plants. Raised bedsThey are the best.
Raised beds are also useful for gardening It’s easier on your back, helps keep pests away from your bounty, allows you to plant earlier than with in-ground gardens, and makes it easier for you to get started planting.Why not use these Oldcastle blocks instead of other? raised-bed Solutions? Oh, I’m glad you asked!

The Oldcastle blocks are extremely affordable. They are extremely affordable.

First and foremost, they’re wallet-friendly and readily available at most big-box hardware stores, which is something that can’t be said for many raised-bed-in a-box Kits

“I did a lot of research on building garden beds, and by research I mean I looked at Buy a garden kit because I’m not handy,” said Alejandra Matos, Wirecutter’s senior audience development manager. “My local hardware store was sold out of the most basic garden kits, and even those were a lot more expensive than buying the Oldcastle blocks and wood.”

A quick overview of listings from Lowe’sAnd Home DepotIt has been confirmed that raised-garden kits can cost upwards of $100 for small or galvanized beds. Others are more costly. These bricks retail for $3 each, and you will need four bricks to complete a basic job. bed. Add four lengths of suitable lumber, and you’ve got a rock-solid Elevated bedFor as low $50

Is it possible to make a cheaper product? bed These bricks are used to attach boards by simply nailing or screwing the pieces together. Yes (video). But there are many benefits to the block-based method.

They make assembly super-easy

It is so easy to put together, you can even do it while sipping a beverage in one hand. Photo: Jessica Bell

These blocks offer great value, even if they are expensive. The beds you’ll make with them are still DIY, but they’re the gardeningSimilar to IKEA flat-pack furniture.

You don’t need power tools, you don’t need to figure out the most secure way to screw the whole thing together, and you don’t have to worry about connections failing at the corners. Your actual labor costs to build your home. Although the effort is minimal, it can be tiring to carry the soil blocks, wood, and soil from your car. The soil holds the boards in their place, and the bricks do the alignment. It all comes together in minutes.

“It was so fast!” Jessica Bell, Wirecutter software engineer used Oldcastle block to build a two story house. bed gardenWith her mother. “We did it all in one afternoon, and it looked way better than we thought it would. My mother really loved it, and it was so fun to build.”

The best that can be said is: tools you’ll need are a tape measure, a shovel, a rake, a hammer or rubber mallet, and a level (if you want to make sure everything is square and flat). You could also fill your container with a level. bed with just a shovel, as long as you don’t mind slight imperfections: Just slide the wood into the slots in the blocks and add soil.

“My biggest piece of advice is not to overthink it,” said Alejandra. “My garden is in a sloped area of the yard, and I probably should have leveled it off, but the basil, shishi to peppers, and tomatoes still thrive.”

Your garden can take any shape, provided it has the right angles.

Your Garden Each side of the Oldcastle Block has a slot that can grasp the endBeds are extremely modular and can be made of a 2-by-6-foot board. Tetris is possible with your Oldcastle block. garden Add extra boxes An existing side bedDifferent shapes can be created to make it easier to access different plants. Different depths of beds can be attached to one another to create a terraced effect.

Jessica explained to me that Jeanette, her mother, is ill. “really short,” They calculated her wingspan to determine her width. garden Betts “We decided on a U-shape since it allowed her to reach all parts of the garden,” Jessica said. “It was also a more interesting shape, and she kinda liked that.”

Here’s how to build a raised garden bed With Oldcastle blocks

To start, make sure there’s a sunny spot in your yard with room for a raised bed. Think about how big your yard is. Space is essential to grow the plants you want. Garden Space is essential for vegetable plants. Garden Space to Grow Properly

Remember, too, that you’ll need to be able to reach into the center of the bed can prune plants and harvest your produce. And you’ll want to leave at least a few feet around the perimeter so you can easily access all sides of the garden.

Ideal is the place where you feel most at ease. The area you choose to be is important for drainage and watering. planting your gardenYou should make sure it is level. If it’s not naturally flat, you can level it with a shovel and a rake before constructing your bed.

Get your materials

Oldcastle wall blocks are available for the planter. You’ll need at least four of these blocks—one at each corner—to create a 6-inch-deep garden bed. Although you can stack up to three blocks into each corner, the manufacturer recommends that you use three. Just bear in mind that your costs will increase exponentially with each layer of blocks, since you’ll need to add more soil and wood. My 12-inch-deep beds have proved to be very productive for tomatoes, greens, and chilis. Alejandra claims that her 6-inch-deep beds have produced abundant produce. Stock lumber The notches in the Oldcastle blocks are designed to accommodate 2-inch stock lumber, so for optimal fit you’ll need at least four lengths of 2-by-6 lumber. For more rigidity, increase the height by adding two blocks to each corner. If you don’t have your own saw, Home Depot and Lowe’sBoth chains will gladly cut your lumber to your desired length. (Both chains have a limit of two free cuts per visit, after which there’s a small charge per cut. My experience shows that this limit is not set in stone and is often waived. As for wood choice, there’s some debate in the gardening world as to whether it’s best to use natural or pressure-treated lumber; pressure-treated wood lasts longer than untreated wood, but the chemicals used in pressure treating contain fungicide and insect repellent, which may leech into the soil. Arsenic-free versions are safe. gardening. They are often too cautious for gardeners. Since untreated cedar is naturally rot-resistant, we think it’s a great all-purpose choice for raised Betting. If your budget can’t stretch to cedar, untreated pine will work as well—just don’t expect it to last quite as long. Although longevity is dependent upon the environment and drainage, these are just some estimates of the expected life expectancy of pine-based products. Raised bed Life expectancy is between five to ten years. Cedar and other woods can last up to 20 year. Soil amendments What you use here is very much a personal choice, but we’d recommend an organic soil (local, if you can get it) mixed with mushroom compost. You can also add natural nitrogen-based fertilizer like chicken manure. Here’s a good calculator for determining how much total fill you need for your garden bed.Optional: Bed Liners You may add landscaping fabric in your yard depending on the content. Bed You can stop weeds from growing in your carefully cultivated soil. If you live in an area with underground pests like gophers or moles, chicken wire may be necessary. In either case, you’ll need a staple gun to secure it to the wood. Reinforcements (optional). If you’re stacking blocks for a deeper garden bedYou can make them stronger in two ways. The first is to simply drive a stake of rebar through the holes in the center of the Oldcastle blocks (that’s what they’re there for). Oldcastle also claims that landscape block adhesive can be used between layers of blocks.

Now, onto the construction

Two people assemble boards and blocks into a raised garden bed.The Oldcastle Blocks make it simple to customize your gardenBetts Photo Jessica Bell

Once you’ve gotten your materials home, assembly is easy (video). To make the block, place the materials at pre-measured intervals. Give it a shape. Once you have done that, insert the wood and add your chickenwire or landscaping fabric. Finally, tighten the things with a rubber mallet or your foot and then fill the hole. box. Yes, it’s really that simple.

These are additional tips that will increase the stability and life expectancy of your property. Raised garden Betts:

Place your boards. To prevent water from leaking out of your soil where the wood meets the ground, you can dig a shallow furrow in the ground for each board to nestle into—a half-inch to an inch should do it. A layer of cardboard can be placed in the soil’s base. It will also help to smother any weeds. Reinforce with glue or rebar As I mentioned above, the weight of the soil should provide enough pressure to keep your boards and blocks in place—both my own beds and Jessica’s have stayed firmly put for more than a year. To give them more rigidity, you could also drive a length of rebar or a length of wire through the holes in the blocks. Alejandra did the same with her beds. If you’re stacking multiple blocks, you can also use landscape block adhesive to ensure they stick together. Rebar holes can also be used in many other ways. The holes can be used to attach rebar to trellises or as an additional attachment. These are great for vine-y plants such as peas and for PVC-based mesh coverings that deter birds, rodents, and deer theft of your produce. You can also add nighttime Lighting for your gardenYou can also insert solar lights into the holes. gardenarea Wooden toppers can give your look a more finished look. These beds look great in their basic form. You can give your bed a more sophisticated look by adding a few touches. You can also add lumber on top of the blocks. This is slightly harder than building the basic. bed because you’ll need to measure, cut, fit, and attach this layer, and that will require additional tools You can also have the cutting done by a hardware store. Since the blocks are 7½ inches wide, you can use 2-by-8 lumber and wood screws to attach them to the vertical boards. Your vertical boards must be flush with their tops, as shown in the photos.A few months later, Jessica’s work paid off handsomely. Photo: Jessica Bell


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This Lego-Like Brick makes it easy to build a raised garden bed.

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