Here in the Sierra Foothills there are a lot of critters that would love to eat your garden, from leaf fungus to aphids, to gophers and bunnies, to birds and deer. The summers are very dry so one must be vigilant about watering.
Weary of these problems I decided to plant a winter garden in a raised bed. The one pictured above is made of old lumber I had on hand, 1″x12″ cedar planks that were in eight-foot lengths, so the bed measures 4’x8’. This way you can do most of the gardening without having to get into the bed. I painted them white to deflect heat as well as help preserve the wood.
The bed is lined with corrugated wire to keep out the gophers, and anti-weed cloth to stop weeds from poking through, then filled with organic dirt and soil amendments. During the full moon in September, I planted cold weather crops including (your right to left) cabbage, spinach, arugula, romaine and kale, using heritage seeds (or non hybrid).
I topped whole bed with deer netting to keep out both deer and birds. The great thing about a winter garden in this zone 10 neighborhood is that it takes very little care, unlike all the watering and weeding of summer. I took this photo this afternoon, the day after Thanksgiving.
There is really nothing quite so rewarding as putting your own homegrown food on the table.