As the weather warms up and we are still putting in our summer gardens there are a lot of things we need to consider. Starting with the soil and any amendments. We also need to check irrigation, fix problems, and adjust for the diminishing rain. As Steve Zien pointed out we need to feed our soil and support the creatures that make it healthy. This in turn is going to give you a soil that will retain water better as well as make healthier plants. He recommends knowing the pH of your soil along with the fertility. I purchased a small meter that measures these and will be testing it out. I know it is not going to be extremely accurate but could give me a ball park idea. I will be experimenting with some different types of drip irrigation for the veggies along with having a backup with overhead sprinklers and hoses. I am going to use T-tape for the first time and let you know how I like it. I found a lot of in depth information on drip irrigation and building the soil on the UC Davis Vegetable Research & Information Center website.
as the garden gets bigger hand weeding everywhere gets too time consuming
For many of my larger plants I like using permeable weed block to keep more moisture in the soil as well as reduce the weeding. After a few years of not keeping on top of my pathways I have had problems with Bermuda grass, other grasses and broadleaf plants taking over. All of these get fed to the chickens or sheep unless they are poisonous so I don’t consider them as evil as other gardeners. But as the garden gets bigger hand weeding everywhere gets too time consuming. This year I have had lots for them from the veggies, so I decided to put down carpet that I got free from my church. When it starts getting raggedy I might look into covering it with a good quality weed block. There is also a large area that I need to either put down plastic this summer to solarize or expand out the area of layer mulch/composting to smother out the grass just like we are doing in the MG Veggie garden.