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What veg start to off with? I think you need some quick wins to get you going so potatoes are relatively easy (try and go for blight resistant varieties), lettuce and runner beans (but being sure you have slug and snail protection). Also, courgettes are relatively easy and you only need 2 or 3 plants to keep you going through the summer. Finally, spinach and chard are pretty easy to grow too. Good luck with this and I bet you'll soon be hooked, so trying to plan ahead and researching crop rotations would be worth investing time in during this wet weather.
Questions I have are as follows.
Will the weeds and grass roots left in the original soil underneath the planned raised beds still eventually grow through or will 8? to 9? of soil on top of the old ground be enough to ensure they remain dormant and eventually rot away?
If the answer to the above is yes they will grow back, what should I cover the original plot with before constructing the raised beds. Obviously if I use plastic then the new raised beds could become waterlogged and it presumably also means I am restricted to the types of crops I can grow as the plant roots wont be able to grow any deeper than 8? to 9? where they will meet whatever barrier I put in..
Hi there, I wouldn't advise just building raised beds on top of your soil. If you use plastic to prevent weeds coming through, the beds will become waterlogged, as you say, but the plastic will also prevent worms entering the beds, which are vital for mixing in organic matter, bringing nutrients to the soil etc.
I would grow a large patch of potatoes in your weed-root-infested soil. They will help to break up the soil (improving drainage) and prevent the growth of the weed roots, allowing you to concentrate on digging a smaller area. And I'm sorry to say that the best thing you can do for your soil and your vegetables is to just dig a small patch at a time and remove the weed roots. It's quite satisfying!
Do use your soil...if your plot hasn't been touched for 18 months then it's likely to be organic, full of earthworms and plenty of organic matter and nutrients. It's also likely to have a high clay content if its waterlogged, which means it will be even more packed with nutrients (digging it and adding organic matter will improve drainage).
Good luck and keep at it, the results are well worth it.