(JOHN) Alright this is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com
Today we have another exciting episode for you we’re here at the “Cind-R-Lite 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 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 video 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 videos 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 video 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 non-toxic stain and you know
I do have videos 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 video
I’ve expanded and now I have twenty, a total of twenty 4-foot 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 would‘ve 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 videos, 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 videos 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 non-perfectionist 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 videos 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 video 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 16-inch 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
8-inch 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 I want to thank him. Alberto, thank you so
much. (ALBERTO) Ok.
(JOHN) And that’ll do it for this episode, hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Once again
my name is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com. Will see you next time and remember: Keep
on growing.