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Garden digging
Garden digging / Justin Bailie, Getty Images

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In this economy, growing your own food is good for the wallet – not to mention great for the body, soul and taste buds. Here’s a tip to get you started.

Define your garden space. For beginners, creating a confined garden with a wood frame, aka a “raised bed” garden, allows you to maintain good soil and keep weeds at bay, among other benefits. Raised beds are usually elevated about six inches off the ground, and should be framed with wood that has not been treated. Mike Weeks of Fifth Season Gardening in Asheville, N.C. recommends locust beam or cedar frames.

If you live in a particularly cold region, a raised bed allows the soil to warm up faster after a long winter, and therefore lets you start planting sooner.

“Raised beds just tend to look neat,” says Susan Littlefield, horticultural editor for the National Gardening Association, “which may be a benefit if you are putting your garden in the front yard.” On the other hand, they are not the best choice if you live in a hot climate with sandy soil because moisture will evaporate faster.

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