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100 Concrete Blocks-Suggestions for uses?  RSS feed

 
Travis Philp
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So I'm going to pick up 100 concrete blocks in about half an hour. I assume they are the typical cinder block variety but he wasn't clear about that.

I'm thinking of using them for cold frames or a root cellar. Anyone have experience using concrete blocks for either? Or do you have another idea that you could throw my way?
 
Jennifer Smith
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Most obvious to me is a short retaining wall or a bunny den.
 
Ken Peavey
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Freezing and thawing in a garden/livestock environment will eventually break any mortar joints.  You would do yourself a favor by dry stacking them-no mortar.  If they fall over as a result of freezing you can always restack them.  If you want to change their configuration, having no mortar will allow it.  If you want a more solid wall, fill with soil/sand/dirt, maybe some lumber as posts stuck through them.

4 stacks of blocks 3 or 4 high with lumber/plywood on top makes a fine worktable.
2 high with a wide board makes a fine bench.

 
Robert Ray
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greenhouseglimpses.blogspot.com
 
Travis Philp
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Ken Peavey wrote:
Freezing and thawing in a garden/livestock environment will eventually break any mortar joints.  You would do yourself a favor by dry stacking them-no mortar.  If they fall over as a result of freezing you can always restack them.  If you want to change their configuration, having no mortar will allow it.  If you want a more solid wall, fill with soil/sand/dirt, maybe some lumber as posts stuck through them.

4 stacks of blocks 3 or 4 high with lumber/plywood on top makes a fine worktable.
2 high with a wide board makes a fine bench.




Thanks for the heads up about mortar. I was planning on using soil anyways if for no other reason than mortar costs money, and I'd like to use onsite resources as much as possible.

We inherited some really nice work tables with purchase of the farm. Theres one that is mostly solid steel and a few sturdy wooden ones.

As for retaining walls, I have a free source for dumptrucks full of football-ish sized rocks so any retaining walls I make will use that.

Thanks for the ideas though Jennifer and Ken
 
Travis Philp
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Thats a pretty crazy greenhouse setup lapinerobert. Thanks for the link. I don't know if I've got enough blocks for a sizeable greenhouse though, which is not to say there aren't more free blocks around.

Ooooh, I forgot about an outdoor oven! I've seen them made using cinder blocks as a base and bricks on the sides and tops, with sheet metal as a base for the roof. I need more blocks!

 
Robert Ray
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Outdoor oven would be cool,  have two pallets of bricks scavenged from a construction site I hope I have enough time to build one this summer
 
Leah Sattler
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oh, you'll never find a use for them.....I'll let you dump them at my house

you could make some great raised beds.  use them to retain heat/protect plants. create walkways or a seating area. a large composting area.......the list is endless!
 
Jennifer Smith
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I thought of BBQ/outdoor oven too late... but I have seen several sets of stairs built of block.
 
Travis Philp
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Leah Sattler wrote:
oh, you'll never find a use for them.....I'll let you dump them at my house

you could make some great raised beds.  use them to retain heat/protect plants. create walkways or a seating area. a large composting area.......the list is endless!


You're so generous Leah 

I think I've settled on using the blocks to make a root cellar and if any are left over I'll use them to make all or part of an outdoor oven. Most other ideas can be made with materials that are more plentifully available to me.

Thanks all. But if you've got some other creative ideas that haven't been mentioned yet, I'm all ears. Won't be able to do any constructing for at least a month or more due to the snow and ice.
 
charles c. johnson
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some one posted a sweat lodge on alternative building  that would take a few block  ill see if i can link it for you

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/1548_0/alternative-building/sauna
 
Travis Philp
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Those are some nice looking sweat lodges! I was thinking about making one using a tipi structure and a tarp but using rocks and cob seems much better.
 
Trevor Newman
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Travis, I have had great success using cinder blocks for raised beds inside my greenhouse. The cinder blocks provide thermal mass, and the beds heat up faster in the spring. I have also found that you can use the holes in the blocks for planting drought tolerant herbs...thyme works great! So far I have only planted the two ends as I use the rest of the cinder blocks to step on when harvesting hard to reach climbers..here are some photos:



Here it is in the winter time...
 
Travis Philp
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Thanks Trevor. I'm not sure if its my computer or what but I can't see your pictures. They are just boxes with red X's to me
 
charles c. johnson
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I can't see them. I also see red x .
 
jacque greenleaf
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I see blue question marks...
 
Trevor Newman
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charles c. johnson
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ahh nice place
 
Travis Philp
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Nice greenhouse Trevor.

Are there blocks buried in the ground or are the blocks seen in the picture the only ones?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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If you have some left over, there's a mound structure in the "season extenders" thread that looks promising.

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=2761
 
gary gregory
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Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Use some of them to line pathways and plant herbs and strawberries in the holes.    Keeps the berries away from ground contact.
 
charles c. johnson
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thats a good idea
 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Ive got some blocks acting as supports for the counter top and sink in the outdoor kitchen.  Other blocks are the supports for the long benches around the table.

Then I have blocks as supports for some of my Aquaponic grow beds.  Then we often use some blocks to hold down tarps or frost blanket fabric.

I've got some solid 4" blocks as pads under rain barrels.
 
Brenda Groth
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i agree with the root cellar idea..sounds like a great use..you can always use other materials for the other ideas mentioned..but the blocks would be really great for the root cellar..want to see photos when it is done
 
                            
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I've heard that placing one in your rainwater collection cistern, pool, whatever, will leech the heavy metals out of the water.
 
                          
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I have a stone wall up against a hill in the backyard and I put a string of large cinderblocks on top of the wall positioned sideways, put down a layer of gravel in the holes, then dirt, and planted herbs and strawberries in them.  This is much more durable than a row of plastic planters that I was originally planning.

 
                    
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gary gregory wrote:
Use some of them to line pathways and plant herbs and strawberries in the holes.    Keeps the berries away from ground contact.


That's mostly what I use them for - flower pots that sit on the ground, that let the roots grow down into the soil. It is easy to mow or trim around them. I only have a few, but I think I will get a bunch of blocks to plant in before I build any more raised beds. Trees don't need such devices, but for low growing perennials, blocks can be handy.
 
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