It was so unbearably hot last spring/summer that we didn’t bother with a garden. It would have been a disaster. The year before, we did away with our raised beds (which were in rough shape after a few years of use) and planted the garden the old fashioned way – directly in the soil. We had some runoff problems and a lot of the good soil was carried away. I tried to divert the water using concrete blocks with minimal success. The garden was fairly decent, but not as nice as when we used raised beds. So, this year, it’s back to raised beds!
Raised beds are a breeze to weed and the plants love stretching their toes in the loose, rich soil. The beauty of gardening in raised beds is that it is possible to plant more vegetables in less space using the square foot gardening method. I highly recommend All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew. In fact, I just started re-reading my copy this week. For gardeners, reading gardening books and magazines is the equivalent of kids watching Christmas specials in anticipation of Christmas… and looking through seed catalogs is like drooling over the Sears Wish Book.
There are all kinds of fancy, pre-built raised bed systems available, but we’re going to save a few bucks and build our own from scratch… which is what we did the last time. The beds lasted a few years and that was good enough for me. One idea is to use Trex decking. It doesn’t rot, fade, or split. Oh… and it costs $45 for a 20 foot board. I think I’ll go with the stuff (uh, wood) that rots, fades, and splits.
Alternatives to building your own!