After living in our house for a couple of years, we decided we wanted to start a vegetable garden. My dad suggested we use a raised bed to get started. He even put it together for us. Our first garden was grown in a 3' x 6' raised bed. Each year, we add at least one more. Now our garden has one 3' x 6' and four 3' x 3' raised beds.
Reasons we love raised beds:
1. They are higher off of the ground. This makes havesting easier.
2. You control the soil. Some plants will only grow in certain soils. This allows you to add the correct soil instead of trying to change the soil in your yard.
3. You won't step on the soil and compact it. Compacted soil can make it difficult for nutrients to get to the roots.
4. Little feet will not be able to step on and damage plants.
This year we plan to add a couple 3' x 18'' raised beds for the herbs in our garden.
For more on raised beds, check out Better Homes and Gardens article, "Raised Garden Beds: Grow a Vegetable Garden in Raised Beds."