Now for the existing garden beds.....In a shadier location, but with much dryer soil. This would be a good place grow greens. But those boxy linear beds have to go. I've thought about this for 3 years and used the beds as is. While there are some advantages with raised beds in wood frames, these beds where not very high and really restricted movement. All the landscape fabric suffocates soil life. And the treated wood....treated with stuff I don't want in the soil anyway.
I am currently taking out all the (treated) wood, plastic and landscape fabric that line the paths between the beds. Here's what it looked like before I started:
There were 10 of these beds each about 18 feet long and 3 feet wide. The paths all around the beds have gravel and landscape fabric about 6 to 8 inches down. The beds were framed with treated wood and black plastic. I got all the treated wood out last fall. I'm in the middle of taking out the landscape fabric.
I'm deconstructing them by hand. That's tough work as the paths have of course been compacted from years of being walked on. But I can almost feel the relief of the earth as the soil is dug up.....and it can breath. Surely not much soil life could have lived in that condition. After feeling really stifled by those rectangles all in a row...The fun part is reshaping the beds to be roughly on contour. That turns out to be diagonal to the way the beds used to be. The arrangement has some gentle curves emerging: