I am a very part time gardener, trying to find balance with many other roles and interests,. Soil is clay in a forested area. I know, it's a primary permaculture error, but I inherited this home and garden. It has been very productive in past. Have deer/rabbit fencing, couple fruit trees, about 700 square feet. I'm starting raised beds as every year, the clay soil seems to need a lot of amendments, and bending and stooping is more difficult. QUESTIONS: 1) I have a pile of 2-year-aged wood chips and thought to put some in bottom of the raised bed as a short- cut to a hugelkultur approach. What depth of wood chips would be good? What do you think? 2) I have corrugated steel panels to build raised beds, 27" wide = height/depth of raised bed. Western Nevada County Gardening Guide states to protect from voles need 1/4" galvanized wire mesh 10" below ground level, and 12" above. For gophers, 1/2" wire mesh buried to depth of two feet and extending up sides. I have 1/2" wire mesh for bottom, could submerge sides down 12" to keep out voles. Would that keep gophers out? Is it a matter of protecting at least 2 feet of roots, or a matter of needing 2 feet of ground to discourage gophers from digging that far? Thanks for your advice.