When contemplating the garden set-up, I knew it would have to be raised. Since the growing season is much shorter in Overgaard than in the Phoenix metro area it takes a long time for the ground to warm up after winter and we can have freezes into May. In September it gets colder at night, and growing slows down. Not much time to get crops to term.
So, raising the garden helps warm it sooner. We are going to see if the brick walls warm the garden sufficiently for the shorter growing season. If we find we need more time, I can see painting the bricks a dark color during subsequent years.
I have a degenerating backbone, so working without bending was another reason for a raised garden. I can take advantage of the wall to sit on while weeding and doing other work with the plants.
Gophers are the another problem here. They are everywhere and I can't see sharing my hard-earned crops with them. The picture shows our solution. The bottom of each garden is lined with wire mesh to prevent their getting in.
The gardens (2) are each 4 feet wide and 25 feet long. Used 8 x 8 x 16 inch bricks which we got a deal on by visiting a company going out of business. The brick voids were filled with dirt and rebar is pounded in every brick for support and strength. Stacked 3 bricks high and capped. (Later, we added a smaller 3rd garden for plants that tend to overrun other plants). We tried to make them as level as we could, but the hill slope made for an optical illusion, of sorts. Garden 1 is more wavy than 2. We got better.
Ordered garden soil from the local center as we are on a mountain side which is mostly rock. They ammended it with mulch, some wood ash and compost.
Things are starting to take shape with the garden. Tweeking to come.