The first raised bed
There it is. The first raised bed. I built it myself. From wood. Shocking, yes? It's twelve feet long by four wide, and, not knowing any better, I filled it with topsoil and compost purchased in 1 cubic foot bags from Home Depot. That was nearly fifty bags of soil. The soil itself is fine, but what a pain in the ass. And expensive. Oh, and there's no weed barrier. The surface of the soil is netted with bermuda grass a month after this photo.
Now with lots of new friends
As you can see, we added a lot more. There are now five total, including the original. Of the four new beds, I only actually had to build one of them, from scrap wood found around the property and the old porch. One of the beds is a repurposed sandbox, and the last two were found leaning against the fence out behind the garage. Old, weathered, and slightly rotted, in one case, but they still hold the soil in.
Of course, this is huge amount of growing area. Naturally, I rolled over two half-barrels that were rotting in the back.
Lots of drip irrigation
Of course, plants like water. Here in San Diego county, we can't rely on rain, and I won't rely on hand watering. I'm lazy. So my dad came over and we installed some irrigation. In the second picture above you can see the pipes sticking out the ground. They pop up a little far from the beds for my taste, but I had already dug the trench.
As for the drip irrigation, I've found that while it can be fun to put together, like tinkertoys, it can also be just stupidly complicated. I won't mess with the quarter inch tubes anymore. But how do you get the water right where it needs to be? Isn't that the whole point of drip irrigation?
As far as I'm concerned, the point of drip irrigation is to use less water than a sprinkler as well as water directly on the surface. Besides, the soil will soak up the water beneath the surface, even if the surface itself is a little dry. Then why not just use a soaker hose? Because the stuff can be fun to play with.