I have been spending time in the garden all week--have four kinds of potatoes planted, the onions, peas and parsnips. That's a good start. Much more to do. I am now expecting to have a damp summer because I just ordered 400 feet of soaker hose for the garden. I spent an inordinate amount of time watering last year and decided I have other things to do than stand holding a hose hours a day!
I am using a new system in the garden this year derived from multiple readings and Mother Earth Magazine. I added compost to tilled double-double rows that are laid out in serpentine fashion snaking from the greenhouse to the north. I will use the soaker hose down the middle of the row in one long continuous stretch. This is going to eliminate having multiple smaller rows and paths which hopefully will result in fewer weed problems. I have lots of clean straw to mulch the plants and to serve as a path covering. The theory is less open dirt to sprout weeds and more mulch to hold moisture. This is all leading up to the no-till method of gardening which is also called "lasagne gardening". Instead of tilling everything up, starting new weeds and destroying the microflora you place your new compost on top and just incorporate it into the top couple inches of soil. This repeats year after year which makes the "layers" of continuing decomposition and enrichment.
Our garden has had the benefit of three years worth of composted horse manure and has finally gained tilth and fertility. Now that I'm down to two horses manure is going to be at a premium! We only have one small accumulated pile from all winter. Maybe this shortage will lead to "having" to get more horses!
I put up my pathetic little chicken wire fence to keep out the skunks, raccoons, etc. after finding my seeds and potatoes on top of the ground in the morning! It's annoying to have to stick everyone back in the ground every day. They like to turn the soil up and look for grubs--so it is a help, but I wish they would do it BEFORE I plant!