I got this idea to build a new bed that emcompasses two raised beds and the open bed that was made last year. This year those three beds grew winter squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes. I came to the conclusion that raised beds are simply not necessary for these three crops. There's no need for easy access to harvest or cultivate. These crops are harvested once a season, possibly twice in the case of winter squash, and the beds don't need much maintenance since the plants are vigorous growers that block out the sunlight. In this new bed the squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes will be rotated every year into new patches in the bed.
First I cut down two small trees, a black cherry and an elm. These were problem trees that I planned to remove anyway. The trees were cut into sections and skidded over to the garden with the garden tractor. Cutting the trees and moving them was the bulk of the work.
The sections laid out roughly around the perimeter of the new bed. From the picture it can be seen that any space gained comes from using the walkways between the old beds. Since the ground slopes down from left to right the thickest logs were put on the low side of the bed.
Next the landscape timbers around the old beds were removed. The lower layers were well rotted. The logs were set into their places and cut to proper lengths and angles with the chain saw. The thickest log on the right was excavated a few inches. Since none of the logs were straight the ground was dug out around the low points to make the logs more stable.
Lastly I dug up the sod in the old walkways and turned it over. I like to get some compost and dig it in before winter.