When planning your new garden you may have trouble deciding whether or not to use raised garden beds. You do not have to; your plants will generally grow just fine without them. There are a number of benefits to raised beds though.
Raised garden beds promote good drainage. Gardens with bad water tables can quickly turn into small ponds in your backyard, effectively drowning your plants. Sometimes the culprit is the gardener themselves. It can be very easy to over-water gardens, but raised beds allow that extra water to run off and not harm the plant.
Many people prefer the no-till form of gardening. Raised beds make this so much easier. Soil from previous plants tends to compacts and this leaves room in the raised bed for new soil to be added. A mixture of compost and sand makes a great soil for no-till gardening. If you don’t have your own compost pile it can get expensive though if you’re doing multiple plantings in the same bed each year. It is also nice to have a raised bed with about ninety percent sand in it for things like carrots and onions; it makes them so much easier to pull.
Raised garden beds are nice if you are planning on using mini hoop houses. Most mini hoop houses are made out of PVC piping, with raised beds you can drill holes right in the wood frames to slip the PVC into. This can make it much easier to assemble and disassemble mini hoop houses through the year.
The only real detriment to using raised beds in your garden is cost. Cheap lumber won’t work to create raised beds because of the chemicals that they use to treat it. Those chemicals can leach out into the soil and contaminate your food. This means that you generally need to use cedar boards. Even untreated cedar can last for long periods. Unfortunately, cedar is very expensive and can force a new gardener to go without raised beds.
There are pieces of garden equipment that will create hills, but those hills are not going to have as good of drainage as a regular raised bed. They are better than nothing if you can’t afford cedar boards, though. There are usually people listed on garden and farm classifieds that are willing to do this for a fee.
Whether or not you choose to use raised beds in your garden is up to you. There is nothing wrong with saying that you can’t afford them or that you don’t need them if you live in an area with good drainage. There are many ways to garden and none of them are wrong.