Sometimes I think I like gardening best in the winter when it mostly involves just dreaming! Right now I'm thinking about moving the vegetable garden to a sunnier spot and switching to reasonably sized raised beds instead of the 8x8 bed the previous owners of our home built.
I have two experiences with raised beds. When I was a kid, my parents grew vegetables in hilled, wide rows that they would till and reconstruct every spring. This worked well but I don't want to go to all that trouble every year. My other experience was with a wooden-sided bed at a community garden. It was falling apart and full of quack grass. The paths between the beds were all grass and there was just no way to keep the grass out of there. It also dried out quickly and the soil in it seemed to repel water when I tried to water it.
My idea to avoid some of these drawbacks are to build wooden beds and mulch the paths deeply with wood chips to avoid grass and weeds invading the beds. My questions are - what type of wood should I use? How long will pine last in this climate (Calgary)? I could do cedar but it's pricey, so I'd rather use cheaper wood if it will last a reasonable amount of time. And what depth should I aim for to reduce the chance of it drying out so fast? Anything else to consider?
All advice appreciated! Thanks!