I'm no master gardener, but I've been using the raised bed approach for a couple of years and I've found it to be pretty effective. Even though this is my primary method, I also plant edibles anywhere there is room in my yard, whether I am working in a raised bed or not.
The Square Foot Gardener tells you to use a mix of peat moss, compost and vermiculite. Of course, I try to never buy anything that I can get for free, so I make up my own cheapskate garden mix. It contains top soil that I beg off people doing construction, compost I make myself, and manure that I get from nearby animal farmers. Without these measures, it would be very expensive to get a raised bed garden going!
Let me show you some of the things I have growing. (We've only lived in our new place for about eight months so our gardens are not as developed as I envision them being in the future.)
Black currant bushes (8)
Strawberries (15 plants)
garlic grass and garlic chives (among weeds)
cabbage, spinach, kale, swiss card, peas, carrots, turnips
lots of onions, broccoli, cauliflower
peppermint Some of these pictured plants are things I grew from seed, some I got from friends as plants, a couple I bought, and some I foraged for since they grow wild in my area. We also have wild mint, garlic, two apple trees, three lilac bushes and two honeysuckle bushes which are not pictured. Additionally, I still have two more (currently empty) raised beds that I want to fill with peppers, tomatoes, melons, and squash!
Oh yeah! Indoors I have aloe vera, a banana tree, a tangerine tree, and shitake mushrooms growing. I will share more information on these indoor plants with you soon!
What about you? What's your favorite thing to grow? Are you a square foot gardener?