My garden is a combination of raised planters and in-ground stuff. For the inground part, I dug down at least 12 inches and added compost, manure, and garden soil that I had brought in from some landscaping company. Hardly any "natural" soil is left, so it's really like an in-ground container. The raised planters are about 24" high.
In the past, I planted very densely, and the plants shaded each other, but the production wasn't great. This year I've really worked on thinning plants out. I'm also using sunflowers to shade my squash (sort of a version of a 3 sisters garden with sunflowers instead of corn)! We'll see how it works out. I also have metal trellises (concrete support panels) bent over the planters for melons and beans to twine around and provide shade. I haven't been able to figure out how to build a big shade structure to cover the garden while still looking good, so the above ideas are aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Let's see, my peppers aren't doing much right now either. They like it HOT!
Everything in my raised planters is thriving and doing wonderfully. Everything in ground is doing well, but starts in my planters are seriously about 6x bigger than the same starts in the ground (for example, my sunflowers in the ground are about 6" high--my sunflowers in the planters are about 3' tall already--planted the same weekend). Squash in the planters are about to flower, squash in the ground are barely past their first leaves. Not sure what is going on. Everything is drip irrigated. Seeing Stars, if things are already wilting, you may need to water in the afternoon too. You'll definitely need to water 2x a day when it's hotter.
I just expanded my garden area. Still planning the space out, which is super fun. I'm thinking about some fruit trees in there expansion area, but torn between space for veggies and space for these trees!
I need to figure out a fencing solution too, but I honestly dont' think much will work. My yard backs out to a natural wash, and our fence is wrought iron. I've bunny proofed the iron, but last year lived-trapped 9 packrats in the garden. There's not much I can do to keep them out! One thing that seems to work abit is marigolds (at least the bunnies don't seem to like them), and they've pretty much naturalized in my garden.
Oh yeah, I'm in Tucson.