Why don't you try Real Seeds next year. They positively encourage people to save seeds. Look at their site.
If you remove the female flowers how are you going to get courgettes? Many male flowers will grow before the females get into their stride. Patience is often required. You will not get any fruits unless the female flowers are fertilized; they will remain underdeveloped until they rot and fall off.
What you would term a weed.
Whoever told you to leave the tops off the butts was a false friend. They should be closely and tightly covered at all times or you will get undesirable gnat larvae breeding in them.
Digging out is the only answer to brambles. The re-growth from any roots left behind is weak and easily dealt with. Herbicides will only weaken a bramble, not kill it.
I don't understand why you object to ferns. They enhance any area. Bracken is another matter.
Too big a pot is a waste as roots will go outwards so most of the soil will be wasted as the roots will never go in it. In a smaller pot the roots will have to utilise all the soil.
In a really dry summer turf goes very brown, but always recovers as soon as we have rain - which we always do!! Have faith.
Sorry, this is a UK-based site. Have a look around you to see what other people have planted.
Major on the vegetables that are not good quality when bought. Avoid cheap, or relatively cheap veg. Grow the best stuff. Runner beans, French beans, maybe sweetcorn, lettuce. Next year, new potatoes.
They have been quiet during the Winter because they hibernate. Now Spring has come and they are looking for food.