Hi, I'm about to start digging up a patch of lawn that I will turn into a veggie patch. I'm wondering whether it's worth creating raised beds, or just planting into the soil. The soil quality seems ok, tendency to clay but not really heavy, and south west facing aspect. Raised beds appeal because it may reduce the chance of footballs being kicked into the patch (two small boys), but I'm sure there are lots of more gardening-related pros (and cons)?
Raised beds will be good for you because you can fill them with non-clayey soil and compost. The soil warms up more quickly,too. We have two raised beds, though we're on sand, so drainage is not a problem.
You'lll need to screen them off from the footballs, though, as all your seedlings will get flattened.
the other good thing with raised beds is that they define small manageable areas of growing space .... and you could designate one for your kids to dig in and they will then leave your ones largely alone.
Nicer for your back too! They're fab in our garden because it's long & thin & we've used them to divide up the space into sections. We've got horrible clay soil & made the mistake of filling one bed with top soil taken from the local area which is almost as bad as the original soil! We have to add lots of compost each year to make it usable. Definitely worth getting good quality stuff to fill them with rather than a cheaper option!
Having built 3 raised beds, I thought I might add the thought that they dry out really quickly. Obviously not a problem this year, but perhaps in others. Also, if you factor in the cost of filling them with good soil, it would be cheaper to buy veg.
"filling them with good soil" sorry? you use your own soil. mine are only raised by six inches. the paths between are made with the stones removed from the beds. mark out your area, dig the soil from the paths onto the bed areas, set kerb stones in as your sides, level the soil back, the paths will be lower, the beds higher : and as you add compost each year they rise.
I have 14 by the way, ranging in size from 4x8 to 8x12