Much time has been spent pushing a wheelbarrow around to do what is shown in the photos: make a new veggie patch consisting of raised beds. Hopefully the photos speak for themselves regarding the process of layering materials to make the beds. The reasons for such effort to raise the beds are: 1) it floods in winter, so height saves things; 2) the multiple layers of manure, straw, soil and compost allow for long-term release of nutrients for the veggies.
With regards to point 2 above, yes, there is initially a negative impact as there is competition between the breakdown of manure and straw in the bottom layers, and the uptake of nutrients by plants. This means that some veg will do better than others – squash seem to do excellently in such conditions, while some more fragile crops don’t (these haven’t really been encountered yet, but that’s what the theory says anyway). Consider though that this veggie patch will get better and better with time as the bottom layers of the raise bed decompose into a fertile growing medium.
In fact, that’s how this process is looked at: bottom layers form a less-than-ideal growing medium for deep roots of veg; the upper compost layers (still to be added, come to think of it) provide the better conditions needed – at least by seedling – to get a good start to vegetable maturity.
Updates will be offered as the new garden takes shape.