Walk around & see how others garden:
- improve drainage
- prevent soil compaction by diverting foot traffic
- warm the soil
Enclose the soil with boards or rocks, or just mound it up. Much more here.
To grow plants that require warmer conditions and/or drier soil, cover a portion of your plot with clear visqueen supported by a framework to form a tunnel. Monitor these mini-greenhouses to ensure adequate ventilation and irrigation, and to avoid cooking your plants. Learn more here.
Consider adding sand and aged brewery grain to heavy clay soil; the grain improves texture and adds some nutrients, but should not be considered fertilizer. Aged manure is better, and compost is excellent. Newer brewery grain is high in nutrients, but should be used sparingly, because it can burn tender, new plants. Our frequent rainfall leaches out nutrients, especially through the fall and winter, so organic matter should be added each year. Garden soil tends to be acidic; you may need to add lime each year (except where growing potatoes, which like the acid). Find amendment piles here.
Block Out Weeds
Cover your mounded soil with a layer of black visqueen and cut an X-shaped hole just big enough for your plant. This eliminates a lot of weeding and tends to raise the soil temperature.
Block Out Critters
Fabric row covers eliminate many insect pests (e.g. root maggots). Consider adding wire fencing to deter porcupines, metal flashing to block mice & voles, or copper strips around beds to discourage slugs. Good luck!
Test the Soil