Georgia was a friend of mine before I married her granddaughter. I helped her build a water garden just outside her door and she kept the door open so she could hear the frogs. Georgia passed recently. She spent years collecting things…lots of things. She had a nice pile of used cinder blocks she had collected from somewhere so I built a retaining wall out of them.
The South face of the greenhouse seems like a nice place for some added beauty and my oldest daughter wants a flower bed. I started by trying to level out some of the ruts and wallows the pigs left behind. Then I put down a row of blocks.
If I was making a taller wall I would need to do some foundation work but with just two blocks I’m not too worried. If it falls over we’ll just stand it back up. I’m not concerned about level since I’m using broken, partial, used blocks from all over the place.
I put in a layer of course wood chips and sticks equal to the height of the first row of bricks. There is also a layer of large chunks of bark and odd firewood scraps in the bottom of the pile. Then I finished stacking the second course of blocks. To be completely honest, my lovely bride of 15 years stacked many of the blocks.
With the wood chips nicely leveled out we added in 3 or so inches of sawdust. This brought our level to the mid-point of the second block. Both boys were busy keeping the wheelbarrow employed while the rest of us leveled, raked, shoveled and lifted. This job took all 12 hands.
We were an hour into the project and it was time for dinner. The wall is not straight, the blocks are not perfectly level, the raised bed barely qualifies as a hugelkultur bed but the flowers should be happy. Tomorrow we’ll add a layer of compost, composted horse manure and who knows what else topped off with a layer of straw. I also have to find a use for a number of half blocks that are still on the trailer.