Faced with a blackberry-covered slope that dropped away on two sides, Stephanie Brooks needed level ground for gardening. With help from her father, Robert Thomas, she outlined a 24- by 32-foot space with railroad ties, then put in a 4-foot wall made from pressure-treated timbers to divide it into upper and lower gardens.
The railroad ties in the lower garden are capped with a top constructed of three 2-by-2s and two 2-by-4s. Brooks grows flowers, basil, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, and peppers, plus everbearing raspberries and strawberries: "We sit and eat to our heart's content." She fertilizes with composted steer manure and alfalfa pellets.