I think this year I may have managed to get the best of both worlds: raised beds without having to build any actual raised bed structures. For this idea I have to thank Steve Solomon and his book, Gardening When it Counts.
Last year when we first put in the 'big garden' I had yearned for nicely enclosed raised beds. That didn't happen (we had mistakenly bought treated lumber instead of untreated) and it turned out just fine. But I so loved the neat orderliness of the raised beds. Then, over the Winter, I started reading Solomon's book, and thought it sounded like a good idea when he suggested shovelling the dirt out of what I wanted to be pathways (for ease of weeding and watering) and onto the adjacent part of the garden patch. So I shoveled out a central path, and then three cross-paths and lo and behold, I had eight nicely raised beds. Plus I didn't 'waste' the dirt in the pathways by just tromping down on it - it was moved over to where it could do the most good - i.e., nourishing my veggies. What with this and my new rock pathway to the garden itself, I am one contented gardener!
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