Raised Beds vs Improving the Ground?
DH and I are having a debate about the best use of our gardening resources -- especially the very limited ability to make any kind of financial investments.
He's all for the idea of raised beds. But we can't buy any soil that's any better than what we've already got and the free stuff is a LOT of labor because its you load, you haul.
He likes the neat, tidy, finished look of a raised bed garden and has read a great deal about its advantages.
I like the neatness too, and I know its much easier to install the hoops for row cover and greenhouse plastic on a raised bed. But I'm concerned that raised beds would be more apt to freeze hard and kill stuff when the rare Canadian air mass gets this far south and I'm wondering if improving the soil in place wouldn't give better results for the same effort as building some 30 beds to cover the area in question.
I'm in a hot, humid, mild-winter climate gardening on nearly pure sand of insane acidity and severe potassium deficiency. I can solarize the section that needs to be cleared of grass and I can mulch with a lot of grass clippings from my neighbor. We can even rent a tiller once to work that and the other soil amendments -- lime and correct fertilizers -- in.
Drainage is the last thing I'd ever need to worry about.
I'd like to hear from both sides about the advantages and disadvantages of each option for my climate -- especially given that the soil would be approximately the same either way.