A raised bed is a good way to grow vegetables in cooler climates, or in areas where the soil is contaminated. The soil in raised beds warms more quickly than soil in the ground. Raised beds are also more accessible to disabled gardeners and gardeners who cannot stoop or bend easily. Vegetables in a raised bed system can be spaced more closely together, which will allow them to crowd out weeds.
Create a raised bed by constructing a wall around your proposed bed area. You can build a raised bed out of woven sticks, landscaping timbers, 2-by-4 boards, bricks, landscaping stone or river rock. Your raised bed should receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. Make your bed no more than 4 feet wide so that it is easy for you to bend and stretch across the bed to work.
Fill your raised bed with a potting mix made of one part sand, one part peat moss and one part compost. Test the soil's pH and add lime or sulfur to make the pH neutral. Many garden centers and pool supply centers sell pH testing kits.
Plant vegetable plants equidistant from one another instead of in rows. Or plant more vegetable seeds than you need to and thin the plants as they grow. When the vegetable plants mature, they should just touch and should form a shady canopy over soil that will crowd out weeds. You can plant small plants such as radishes between large plants that are tied upright such as tomatoes.
Check your vegetables daily and water them to keep the soil as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Soil in a raised bed warms quicker and dries more easily than soil in the ground.
Apply a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer at a rate of 1 lb. per 100 square feet of soil.