Re: Couple gardening questions
I use shallow dishes (you can cut the bottom inch or so off a plastic Solo cup and use that) with beer for slugs...it's gross though...slugs don't like salt either so I was thinking about an epsom salt border for my strawberries...maybe they won't cross it, or once they touch it they'll die...but I don't know how it'll work, I KNOW the beer works (use the cheapest you can find, save what you have left over, they don't care if it's flat...LOL
As for the dry areas, I think you should till in organic material (mulch, compost, soil conditioner, etc.) to loosen the soil, we are in the SE so we have carolina red clay (joy) and we got a DUMP TRUCK load for our back yard (entire lot is 9000 sqft) to prepare it for new grass.
I use raised beds for gardening (75% hot compost & 25% river/creek sand) and love, love, love it. Last season I added very very fine mulch (soil conditioner)to the top layer around plants and this year it got turned in to the soil and new compost added to the top layer. I am very pleased with my results (except getting Early Blight on Tomatoes and lost them) so far. I have large, high yielding plants and love it!
I hope this helps you, but if not I hope you find what does solve your issues!