A raised garden bed warms up much more quickly than a traditional bed, allowing you to plant summer vegetables earlier in the season. The bed also provides superior drainage, less weeds and an efficient use of limited gardening space. A raised bed sits at least 8 inches above soil level. It may be framed or unframed, though unframed beds must be reassembled each year. Frames are available for purchase, or you can create one from bricks or wood boards arranged and secured into a box.
Dig out the area where the raised bed will be located. Remove all soil to a depth of one spade blade, or about 8 to 10 inches. Place the removed soil into a wheelbarrow. Loosen the soil beneath this to an additional spade depth, but do not remove it.
Place or assemble the frame around the excavated bed, if applicable. If using a homemade board frame, install a wood stake in each corner to attach the boards to and prevent them from shifting.
Combine the removed soil with one part well-matured compost. Return the soil-compost mixture to the bed. The soil level in the bed now sits approximately 6 inches higher than the soil level outside the bed. Add additional soil or compost to the bed as necessary to raise the level to the top of the frame, if applicable.
Install a trellis system on the north side of the bed if you are growing vine vegetables such as peas and beans. Insert the trellis stakes flush with the frame on framed beds, or just outside the bed area for unframed beds.
Plant the vegetable seedlings into the bed. Follow the plant spacing instructions on the plant label or seed packet. Space rows at the same spacing recommended for between plants as opposed to the row spacing recommendation on the label.
Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch over the bed after planting. Mulch prevents the raised bed from drying out too quickly, as well as preventing some weed growth.