|The planned spot for the garden is in the open space between two huge evergreens.|
I'm completely new to gardening, so a fair amount of reading of resources on the net was needed before we get started.
Here's a list of the links so far:
Building the raised beds is one thing - but can't forget the soil. We'll probably buy ours from a local landscaping supply, it's much cheaper than buying it "by the bag" from Home Depot. We use CTI Mulch & More in the Rockville area - they are great. (but be warned: they will dump the soil on your driveway unless you ask them to haul it into your backyard, which costs extra).
According to this online calculator, for a 4 x 12 x 24 raised planting bed, we'll need about 96 cubic feet of soil per bed, or ~3.5 cubic yards of soil. They also recommend a 60% mix of top soil, 30% compost and 10% "soil-free growing mix" that contains peat moss, perlite and/or vermiculite. Ordering this from CTI will cost us $26 per cubic yard of topsoil - plus their topsoil is already mixed with compost. So about 90% of our planting bed fill should consist of this material, or ~6.3 yards worth. That will end up costing us ~$163. Add in 10% (9.6 cu ft) peat moss will add another $31 (Home Depot). So, altogether the soil will run us just under $200 - or about $100 per planting bed. (Compare that to purchasing all the soil at Home Depot, it would have cost us ~$440 if we bought it "by the bag").