I dug out a second garden plot next to my first one in late July, 4×8 feet. I pulled out the grass and turned the soil over by hand, loosening up the dirt and ferreting out rocks (and trash!) to a depth of about two feet. I mixed in a few shovel-fulls of my own compost (the pile hadn’t produced enough usable compost for the entire task), a few bags of “Garden Soil” and two bags of a composted humus and manure mix to add some extra nutrients. We carefully selected some seed packets to plant in the ground starting around the beginning of August: Two varieties of lettuce, a spinach, and some carrots. I planted the seeds a little bit thickly, in rows spaced about a foot apart. The intention being that I would thin them out after things started sprouting.
This picture, taken a month and a half later, explains the results better than any words possibly could:
The ones on the left are a cluster of two or three small carrot plants. The ones on the right are some variety of loose-leaf lettuce. Everything everywhere else is dirt. WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL MY DAMNED PLANTS? Seriously. Look at this disaster of a garden. No spinach sprouted. None of my iceburg lettuce sprouted. I followed the instructions to a T: shallow rows, seeds planted very shallowly, watered, plenty of sunlight. Nothing.
By the end of the season I guess my wife and I will each get one carrot and a small pile of lettuce. Maybe we’ll make a party of it. Salads for everybody (So long as nobody else shows up)!
Actually, one thing did grow in this plot which isn’t shown in this picture: Tomatoes. Remember when I said above that I used a few shovel-fulls of compost from my pile? Apparently there were a few tomato seeds in there, and they sprouted right up. There were about a dozen of these, and while I was inclined to let them grow (since nothing else was as eager!) I knew they weren’t going to produce anything before the frost and they were starting to choke out the carrots and lettuce. Back into the compost pile they went. Seeds obviously will sprout in this forsaken little garbage pile of a garden, just not the ones I specifically planted there. Go figure.
In response to this failure of a garden I went out and bought a soil tester to make sure my pH and nutrient levels were good. The pH was a perfect 7 but the nutrient levels were low. I guess for next season it’s back to Home Depot for more compost, manure, fertilizer and whatever other crap they tell me I need.
First frost is probably coming up within a week or two, so this plot is going to be harvested soon. Shortly thereafter, if I can get the soil here fixed up, I want to get some garlic in the ground.