The spacing is such that when the vegetables are fully grown, their leaves just barely touch each other, creating a microclimate in which weed growth is suppressed and moisture is conserved. Raised beds produce a variety of benefits: they extend the planting season, they can reduce weeds if designed and planted properly, and they reduce the need to use poor native soil. Since the gardener does not walk on the raised beds, the soil is not compacted and the roots have an easier time growing.
They are perfect for the disabled gardener, those suffering from arthritis, and the elderly as they can be elevated to a suitable level so that bending over and kneeling will not be necessary.
When gardening in these beds only means you are growing your flowers and vegetables above the ground. You can create your own by building a wooden structure with drainage holes in the bottom and fill it with your favorite organic soil mixture. Concrete blocks, bricks, or just about any material strong enough to hold the garden bed and raise it above the ground can be used.
Raised beds lend themselves to the development of complex agriculture systems that utilize many of the principles and methods of permaculture. They can be used effectively to control erosion and recycle and conserve water and nutrients by building them along contour lines on slopes.