In our quest to garden in this hard Oklahoma clay, we settled on buildng raised beds. I like that we can control the soil and also allow for drainage...and that they are nearly weed free. We used the Square Foot Gardening plan and added verticle supports to each of our three square foot beds. As an experiment, we used metal pipe, driven into the ground for two of the beds and a wooden frame attached to the bed for the third. Honestly, I prefer the aesthetic of the wood; however, the wooden verticle frame ripped the raised bed right off the ground in a bit of wind. To make matters worse, the bed is ruined...ripped to shreds. So...like it or not, this year we'll put in all metal pipe supports driven into the heavy clay. Those have well outlasted the wooden frame and the beds are still intact.
Also, DH wants to dig out a long rectangular bed, removing a minimum of 8 inches of clay and replacing it with compost. He was disappointed with the harvest from the square foot beds and thinks this will yield more produce. We'll try it out and see what happens. I am a bit nervous about the drainage issue, but the best way to test it is to jump right in. We'll edge this bed with rock to try to minimize weed entry.
On the indoor gardening front, my salad bowl is sprouting!!! It's so funny how that little bit of green can be so exciting! It will be great if this can provide us with greens year round. Someday I hope to add a small greenhouse to the OAH so that we can garden right through the winter, but the salad bowl will have to suffice for now.