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Ron S

carpedebass, you have received some excellant advice from many sources and I agree with them all. I will also advise you to look into companion planting. Some bugs that are attracted to certain plants will not go near them if you have planted certain other plants near them or even encircling the rows or the entire garden. Planting certain flowers adjacent to your tomatoes will not only repel some bugs but will also cause some of the bad guys to think you just have a pretty flower garden, as they drive by your location they will see the flowers and ignore the fact that there are vegetables there too. Tilling your compost into the soil is a great idea. You might also consider putting grass clippings throughout your garden or you can also use straw. Using either on your garden will keep down the weeds as well as retaining the moisture. Also, because you are not walking in there all the time to weed your plants, you willf ind that it will be easier to till when you are ready to till again I knoow from experince that if one covers the ground around potatoe plants they can be harvested just using your fingers( no digging required). I just brush the clippings back, dig into the soil with my fingers to expose a potatoe to see if it was large enough to use and pick it if it was. If not big enough, then I just covered it back up to let it grow some more. This is not an original idea with me as I read about it in ORGANIC GARDENING MAGAZINE about 40 years ago. My experience was that my potatoes, tomatoes, purple beans, yellow beans, lima beans and my okra all did well. And my peppers also liked it too.
You might also look at stringing string over your garden to discourage the birds as they will fear getting their wings entangled . I also have heard that putting blood around your garden will keep away the rabbits. I tried that one year and it seemed to work but it will wash off and has to be replenished after you water or it rains. I used blood meal but there are probably some other ideas out there.