Posted: 11/02/2015 at 00:13
What is this trend for raised beds? I suspect it is encouraged by garden centres and online retailers to get us to buy overly priced, ready made, deep bed kits.
What I find important for growing veg, is good, well prepared, fertile soil. If there is a depth of soil so much the better, and if you arrange your plot into narrow beds so that you can access from the sides without treading the soil, well then you have just created deep beds.
A deep bed doesn't need edging, it just needs a good depth of untrodden soil, but without an edge it tends to spread about and loose definition, so I would recommend a low edging, just to define the area, keep the soil from the paths, makes it look tidy, and help the soil at the edges stay moist.
If edging is your thing, then 1" x 6" treated timber from the timber merchant is probably as cheap an option as any. (untreated timber if you don't like the idea of chemicals near your edibles) Drive stakes into the corners. attach the boards, and then dig the plot deeply adding whatever rotted organic material you can and hey presto, a deep bed. Simple and cheap.
Sorry if this has become a bit of a rambling rant, but I work in a wood yard, and every year we see more and more gardeners, especially newbies, who believe that veg only grows in raised beds. When I discuss their needs and in particular how they are going to fill them, it is almost always apparent that this hasn't been considered or budgeted for. If you have to buy in a lot of topsoil and compost on top of the cost of the timber or ready made kit, then it makes for some hellishly expensive vegetables.
Good growing and good eating.