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.
Numbering starts in the upper left corner and moves left to right, top to bottom. For example, planting square A1 is the upper left-hand square (1st column, 1st row), while planting square C4 is the square in the 3rd column and the 4th row. I have yet to find a commercially available garden bed with an included feature for marking off planting squares.
Urban gardening is now very popular these days because of food safety awareness, our financial economy, and because we want to be eco-friendly. Just because you only have a garden area that is very small does not mean you cannot use some small raised garden beds on a patio, deck, or back porch for some herbs, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants to enjoy.
The 4x8 foot garden beds I bought, for instance, are 4x8 feet from end to end. But when you connect the boards at the corners, you lose a few inches, so the interior dimensions of the garden bed are actually a few inches short of the advertised size. In my case, my beds have an interior dimension of 46.25 inches x 94 inches. I refer to these dimensions as Usable Length for the remainder of this article.