After writing about Kitchen gardens, I put into action some temporary raised beds in my vegetable garden. I have had some permanent raised beds in my front garden since its inception. The driveway beds are also a type of permanent raised bed situation. I think there are pros and cons to the technique.
The pros, of course, are that you have more control over the tilth and quality of the soil. There is a barrier to encroaching lawn, good drainage, and it simplifies keeping the garden unified and paths tidy (as in the kitchen garden concept).
The cons may be more due to laziness than actual problems with the technique of raised beds, but I continually have to pull weeds from the two original permanent beds which leaves the soil needing to be constantly topped up. It is hard to keep it looking neat when situated within lawn ( as those two beds are) since the grass must be partially hand trimmed. the answer is to keep up with weeding the beds, but the better soil sometimes means that weeds like it too well… just as your chosen plants do.
The retaining materials need a bit of maintenance, but that is a minimal problem.
In the vegetable garden where the plants are all annuals I like to till. That is why those beds end up being temporary: simply hilled up earth for the season. I like the idea of raised beds in a Kitchen garden, but I often dedicate most of my maintenance time to the ornamental plantings… and that has meant the vegetable part of the garden gets out of hand late in the season. After seeing Carols pictures, though, I am really tempted to put the work into making an area that could qualify as a bona fide Kitchen garden. There is something so neat and pretty about those geometrically lined spaces of boxes and pathways.
What is your experience with this? Do you like raised bed gardening or find it more hassle than it is worth? Easier and better, or not?
Picture used with permission