My recalcitrant vegetable patch
I have complained before about my veg patch. I admit to making a mistake when I had it cut when we first moved into the property in 2012 (Newark) and should have waited for all 4 seasons before doing anything; however, what's done is done. It is bounded on the west side by trees (a 'heritage hedge'); on the south by a trellis, in situ at the time of buying and which does let light through, particularly now that I have cut down the offending clematis and honeysuckle; and to the north by a shed, also there when we came in.
The trees cause the most problem, the 'hedge' extends southwards down the whole garden so sunlight reaches the veg patch only until around 2.00 p.m. in summer, although it is still very light. However, last year we gained permission from the council to have the trees heavily pruned and all the 'suckers' removed; because of the TPO it took time and we could therefore not have it done until June, i.e. after first fledglings had gone and before the birds started up again with the next family. Consequently, the veg patch was left to its own devices. I should also point out that, because of said trees, the plot tends to dry out very quickly (clay soil under the top soil) and needs water every evening that it is warm and sunny - thanks heavens for 3 really good-sized water butts!
I now want to have another go but, as the plot has been left fallow for over a year, I'll need to amend the soil, after which I intend to put a massive load of compost (general purpose) into it. What 'amendment' products should I use, and when? Our favourite crops are salad leaves, beans (runner and bush), carrots, zucchini - it's not a huge space. Tomatoes and peppers, etc. are grown in my unheated greenhouse (ex-Summer house where we had the roof replaced by Perspex and which works perfectly in the summer).
I have to say, this is its last chance as, if it is not successful this year, I shall revert to grass. I may even take down the trellis and make what is now the veg patch into a shrubbery to complement the ornamental border which would then lie directly in front of it (and which works!); but I really would like it to succeed!
Any help you can give, Forkers, would be gratefully received.