The soil here is very dry. Palo Alto apparently used to be flood plains, and the reflects the sediment. The USDA Soil Survey of the Santa Clara Area describes the soil in Palo Alto as “mostly brown silty clay loam that is well drained” and adds that the soil is “very fertile but can be difficult to work by hand when dry unless large amounts of organic matter are added.”
I found that to be very true. Those chunks of soil in the above photo are like rocks. They’re very difficult to break apart by hand. My landlord has an ice pick (the kind you use for clearing ice off a driveway in the winter). There isn’t any ice to clear off driveways around here, but it comes in handy for breaking up the soil.
We broke up the soil in a roughly 3×3 square, added some bagged garden soil amendment, and this is what we got.
Next it was time to plant the squash.
Here’s how the zucchini squash looked just prior to planting:
There were four zucchini and one winter squash. I separated the four zucchini in to two groups of two plants. Here’s how they looked in the ground:
I hope that, as they grow, I can direct them out toward the perimeter of the garden bed so they don’t crowd each other.
Actually, I just hope they get big enough for crowding to be an issue. Fingers crossed these guys survive.