I am a new gardener last year was my first real garden. Me and girls gave it our best but it just did not produce much. So this year I decided I was going to figure out what went wrong and fix it. My goal is to increase the size of our garden so that it can provide all the fresh produce we need during the summer and may be even some to put back for winter. I decided to test the soil and see if may be that was the problem. I bought one of those little test kits at Walmart. Me and the girls followed the instructions exactly and every tube was just about clear. No hint of color at all. I though ok the test kit is a dud. So I went back to a different Walmart and bought two more from different sections of the store. We tested the soil again using soil from different parts of the bed. Guess what no color again. We have DEAD DIRT! yup that's right my soil had basically little to no nutrients in it. No wonder why out garden didn't produce much last year.
So I made a trip to the local home improvement store and bought 4 50lb bags of cow manure. I put two bags in each bed. We waited three weeks and tested the soil again this time we got very faint colors. We still needed more this time my brother in law brought me some fertilizer and I basically dumped a bunch in each of the beds. Waited three weeks and tested the soil again this time I had color in the ok range all across the board. Me and the girls set about planting seeds as soon as the last frost had passed. We planted spaghetti squash, pickling cucumbers, green beans, peas, lettuce, purple cabbage, white radishes. We are now a few months into this growing season and our plants are starting to produce actual produce something. We have 5 squashes that are happily growing on vines that stretch out of the beds and across the lawn. The cucumbers are taller than the trellis me and the girls built for them. We have already gotten more green beans than we did all summer last year. The lettuce is growing on straw bails and so far it has done well enough that we haven't had to buy any from the store, and we are eating salad every night. Since I appear to have garden success I thought I would share a couple photos of my crazy squash plants. The vines are about twice as long as in this photo as it was taken over a week a go and they have really taken off with the rain we have had the last three days. There are now 5 vines that trail out each side of the bed and run along the ground about 4 foot.