Raised beds are a popular and effective way to garden in a variety of situations. Whether you choose a raised bed to make gardening easier or you choose a raised bed to enable you to garden in higher quality soil, you will enjoy a thriving success with your raised bed when you maintain it properly. Winter mulch is one important consideration with a raised bed because the soil temperature in raised beds is typically cooler than the soil temperature in standard garden soil.
Wait to apply the mulch until the ground has cooled sufficiently. This is important because this allows plants to acclimate to the falling temperatures and gives them time to develop strength to withstand it. Wait to mulch until at least three freezes in the 20 degree F range have occurred.
Clean out the raised bed of any remaining vegetation. Use the garden spade to till the vegetation into the soil and work all of the soil down to a depth of about 4 inches.
Rake the soil smooth.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of shredded mulch to the top of the raised bed. Distribute the mulch evenly so that the entire surface area of the raised bed has an even amount of mulch.
Work the mulch into the soil the next spring with the garden spade to prepare the soil for planting.