Raised vegetable beds are one of the best ways to garden and probably my favorite recommendation for how to start. Because of the compact space, you can concentrate your soil amendments in one place, the soil will warm up quicker in the spring, and the soil is looser, therefore, easier to grow root vegetables such as beets, turnips, radishes, and carrots.
Here are the raised beds that my husband built for me about 4 years ago. I use them predominantly for my spring, fall, and winter garden. I try to let them sit dormant over the summer.
We started by laying down newspaper, at least 10 pages thick, then a layer of mulched leaves, and a mixture of bags of compost, top soil, and peat moss from Wal-Mart. It was very inexpensive and got the job done.
Since then, we will add compost and dolomitic lime in- between plantings. Sometimes, if the bed is going to sit dormant, I will layer newspaper, leaves, lime, and compost.
Now, my husband has made a PVC frame that we cover with plastic when the temperature starts to drop and we are able to have fresh greens and root crops all winter.