I started creating our backyard vegetable garden beds two years ago, using random materials that I found on our new property. Some rocks, bricks and pieces of wood were used to retain a couple of the beds, but the rest were just dug out of the lawn. The food production was super that first season, but the garden beds weren’t ideal.
It was difficult to maintain bed the edges, since the lawn kept creeping back over the soil. As well, when adding compost, and other amendments, it created beds that heaped in the middle and were shallow on the sides. The garden plots needed to be retained to become optimal.
Last year, I started retaining the beds with urbanite chunks that were from a neighbors patio. He was heading to the landfill with a load of the broken up concrete, when my hubby flagged him down and asked him to unload it in our backyard. The aggregate pieces were just the right size for me to lift and place around the edges of the exhisiting beds. This picture is from last October, when the urbanite was placed around the garden plots. I meant to make a pathway through this bed, so we could easily access the growing vegetables without stepping on the soil, but I didn’t get it done.
Until now …
I cleaned up all the winter leaves and debris and put it on the compost pile. Then I started carving out a pathway in the soil, through the square garden. The pathway is now in a direct line from the kitchen door to the workshop (lovingly known as the “Man Cave”) so hubby can graze on greens, while on his way to get tools.
To build the concrete urbanite retaining walls, I dug a bit of a trench and set the chunks on edge to maximize garden space. The chunks lean into the garden slightly, are wedged tightly with tiny pieces of concrete and back filled with soil for support. I relate it to doing a giant jigsaw puzzle. Looking for the right piece to fill the next void can be a bit challenging, but it’s worth the effort.
This picture shows that the one square bed has become two. I’ve used a more organic shape, similar to all of our front yard urbanite beds. One of the beds is top dressed with organic compost and the other is waiting to be dug up and planted.
The pathway, viewed from the kitchen door side, heading to the workshop. As an added bonus, defining the vegetable garden space with raised beds gives our dogs guidelines for the “no-go” zone. Even while fetching a tennis ball, if it lands on a raised bed, Buddy will stop at the concrete boundary.
When digging in this plot, I was careful not to disturb the soil too close to the edge. The final photo is of the rest of the backyard garden plots, raised and retained with concrete urbanite chunks. If you have access to a similar type of material be sure to put it to a practical use on your property, keeping it out of our landfills.