There are lots of reasons why you might want to plant in a raised garden bed rather than directly in the soil. Raised beds create controlled environments that allow you to overcome problems such as weeds, roots, and poor soil. The good news is that raised beds are relatively inexpensive to buy and so simple to build that almost any gardener can have one.
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To plan your raised bed, start by evaluating the space you have available. You can build to suit almost any size space, but you'll want to be sure you're able to reach all your plants, so your bed shouldn't be more than four feet wide. If you have more space than that, consider building two or more beds side by side, with a path between them.
The basic garden bed is bottomless: You can set it on the ground or inset it several inches into the earth. Freestanding beds have bottoms and can be placed anywhere. The frame and sides can be made of many different materials, including wood, stone, and brick, and can be assembled from a kit or built from scratch. Don't use pressure-treated posts or railroad ties for a garden bed, since treated lumber contains chemicals that could leach into the soil.
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