The case for and against raised beds?
There are lots of posts springing up (sorry about the pun) from brand new gardeners building raised beds. In past years, these posts have sometimes been followed by pleas for help with yellowed, stunted plants, and often we find out that things have been planted in some bagged or delivered "top soil.". And so the chant begins -- mix it all in with your native soil, you need a mineral component, you need the soil food web, which is in your native soil, not in the "top soil" they sold you . . . etc.
I am left feeling that some book out there has misled a lot of new gardeners who could have skipped all the expensive lumber and "top soil", saved all that building and filling work, and instead just dug up (or lasagna-ed) a piece of lawn, added some compost and what ever other amendments their professional $10 soil test said they needed, stuck their seeds and/or seedlings in the ground, and gotten a nice harvest.
If someone has high lead or cadmium, I get the raised bed thing. Yard a bed of rocks? Ditto. A new neighborhood with nothing but subsoil from when your basement was dug, covered by a thin layer of sod for your lawn? Or got the mole/vole thing going on?Okay, do raised beds. But why is native soil getting such a bad rap these days?
Alright, rant over. I am now seriously open to any and all explanations as to why raised beds are the best thing ever. And I'm hoping that this thread will be informative for the new gardeners starting out this year, and will help avoid some of the common pitfalls.