We made a decision when we started the garden a few years back, to do raised beds. Raised beds have some awesome advantages over gardening in the ground. To start with, to start a garden in the ground requires breaking up soil that has been in place who knows how long! This can be back breaking work even with a rototiller, which most of us don't just have in the garage! Working existing soil means that it has had something growing in it before - grass and likely weeds. If it didn't have weeds, it likely has some kinds of chemical in it that was used to control the weeds. I for one, don't want what ever those chemicals might be, to be in my food.
Weeds are a normal companion to growing anything outdoors. The seed blow in the wind. By starting with raised beds, we started with almost a foot of soil and compost that had never been walked on. The beds we put in at Madison St. were primarily 4' x 12' or 4' x 24' the first year. We did have some beds that were done in tractor tired that made it somewhat easier for people who wanted to garden but had some trouble working down low. We also got a lot of mulch to hinder the weeds. Even when you got weeds, if you were diligent and didn't let them become monsters, they are easy to pull in the virgin soil.
This past year we tried some more traditional gardening when we plowed up some of the land at Westlake to plant corn. This was not the year to start trying that out with the early rains, and then no rain later. We will be dining it again this coming year.
The first article I want to refer you to is a short piece on Square Foot Gardening. This is interesting and if you want more information on it there are books on it at the New Carlisle Public Library.
Next time I will talk some about the concept of permaculture