Raised Garden Beds are garden beds that are elevated above the surrounding soil or ground they are built on, and are normally retained by some type of framework. These frames can be constructed of many types of materials, block, brick, stone, or wood. A hilled garden bed can also be considered a raised bed.
Size of a raised bed is determined for the comfort of maintaining the garden, normally not exceeding 4 feet in with, and any length. The reason for the 4 foot dimension is that a person can reach the center point of the garden from both sides. One downside with having a bed with a long length is that it makes for a long walk to get around the garden bed when performing a specific task that requires the entire width of the bed, like planting or weeding. A raised garden bed 4 foot by 8 foot is normally considered an ideal size by most gardeners, both for gardening purposes and 8 foot being a common lumber size that is readily available at most lumber yards.
A major benefit of dividing a long length of garden bed into shorter section is that there is an increase on the amount of available edge. There is a permaculture concept that needs to be introduced, or for you to have an understanding about “edge effect”, and interface between two mediums, the intersecting point where to different environments meet. This interface between two different environments creates a broader range of favorable environmental conditions that support a larger variety of both animal and plant life, therefore having the ability to be highly productive areas.
Raised beds also have the ability to allow you to plant crops closer together due to the fact you will not need to leave spacing for walkways, therefore being more productive per square foot than the traditional method of row gardening. High density planting also has its advantages, plants growing close together will shade bare soil and suppress weed growth.
The ability to maintain a better soil condition is another benefit will a raised bed garden. Due to the easy access of a raised garden bed, there is no compaction to the soil that is normally caused by walking in the traditional method of row gardening, making raised bed gardens an ideal choice for a no-till garden. Keeping the soil amended with organic matter will allow the natural life that exists in soil to work for you. This will greatly benefit the structure of the soil in a raised garden bed, and return provide you with a thriving crop.