Raised beds vs flat garden vs raised flat garden?

We are looking for a house for the reasons not related to gardening. Today I decided to calculate how much it will cost to build the vegetable garden of the same size I have now. My current set up is on the hill and all raised beds as my landscape allows them and where it allows them and flat garden is not in option. Approximate size of the garden including paths would be around 40X60. We are looking for a places with a flat yard. I counted just wood and soil to fill the beds to match what I have now, I came up with from 3K+ in a very rough estimate with cheapest (not long lasting) materials available to 7-8K for 17’’ tall metal beds and both estimates do not include the fence around the garden. On top of crazy prices on the houses it sounds unrealistic. I never had just flat in ground garden and I do not think it is really possible to have in MA - the soil is so terrible and all somewhat new houses have loans growing on top of 2 inches of poor topsoil with rock hard sand/gravel under it. So I started to think that I may need to use timber to create a raised area about 1.5 foot high that can be filled with soil and have steps going up and a fence. What I am not sure about is the barricades I usually use for many plants to protect from insects. Wood of the raised beds is great way to connect the posts, clip the nets to and so on. Is it possible to do the same without frames? Another concern I have is this. My current garden is weedless - garden beds are mulched well, paths are covered with landscape vabric covered with wood chips. In the flat garden I wouldn’t be able to use woodchips for paths(they will eventually mix up with soil and that is not good), what other option can be there? I am afraid that landscape fabric not covered with woodchips will deteriorate too fast. Also to plant for example potatoes and tomatoes in close proximity from each other is not working well, potato usually getting blights earlier and spread it to tomatoes if grow near by.
…And there are also trees and bushes…Poor me.

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I would think that if the native soil is as poor as you describe, that decomposing wood chips eventually being worked into the soil by the microherd would be a major positive.


My 20Foot by 38 foot raise bed garden is 16 inches deep with a four foot fence to keep the dear out.


Eventually - is a key word here… 10-15 years? I am not sure if I live that long. And in a mean time it will be taken nitrogen from my expensive soil…

You need to add nitrogen to help. Urin works great and so does grass feed or urea nitrogen 46-0-0.

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That’s right, if we talking about adding woodchips to native sand (when rocks are already sifted out!). Than you can calculate approximate amount of carbon and nitrogen for best composting ratio. That works to add more space to you garden, that you do not need right away. But we use to produce almost ALL our veggies our self. And just one bed that will fit a tomato and couple plants of lettuce is not my style of a garden. I will have to buy soil. Now, when I use woodchips on the paths between plants, turning the garden in fall would be a problem. No turn garden is not my style either keeping in mind number of the pests I kill when turning.

ive added hardwood sawdust mixed in soil in the fall with some 10-10-10 and it was all broken down by spring. i till in the woodchips from the following season that i put down in spring, between the rasp. rows and it hasnt hurt them in 6 yrs. :wink:

For some of the vegetable, like carrots, parsley, turnips the pieces of the woodchips could be a real problem…

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