This weekend I tried to get more serious about utilizing a rain barrel for drip irrigation. the first iteration dribbled water sufficiently but un-evenly. I tried to level the line yesterday and got pretty good results but didn't get to test it. I also fitted the rain barrel with a spigot valve to just gravity feed instead of siphon.
Regardless, the soil is still like a sponge and very moist when the rest of the ground has dried up. I credit that to the tilling and manure from earlier in the Spring.
The black weed control fabric has been a mixed success that may still pan out, There is enough light getting through that weeds are growing. under the fabric and lifting it and plenty of weeds are striking for the hole where the plants pass through.. I am experimenting with moving a heavy black plastic through different areas of the garden and knock down weeds by starving them for light.