By mid-summer, you might be finding your plants slowing their production. In part that may be due to the passing of the season, but it may also be due to a soil bed that is growing weary and under-nourished. While you can't exactly till 6 inches of fabulous fertilizer into your full garden bed while plants are still making camp there, you can do a few things to enhance the quality of the soil. For starters, grab someone who might be watching Saturday morning cartoons and have him start tearing the weekend newspaper's ad bills, the non-glossy ones--if you're finished reading them--in strips while he watches his shows.
So what are your options for mid-season fertilizing? One is to buy a jug of fertilizer that you can sprinkle around on the ground, leaving it to dissolve gradually and sink into the soil. You can also make compost tea to use, if you do composting. Some suburban neighborhoods don't permit compost bins in backyards, so hauling in bags from a nearby garden center might be your nearest hope for getting viable compost to use.
As for me, today, I used some age-old kitchen amendments on my garden. If you spend any of your mornings having coffee and eggs while reading the newspaper--well, you've made a great start in helping your garden soil along. These two links explain more fully why you might be adding these to the garden instead of the trash or recycle bin.
Is that child or grandchild finished shredding the paper for you yet? Here's an article you can show him so he knows why he was doing that strange chore for you.
I took those newspaper strips and added them to just such a place in the garden. Finally, I find a benefit in my overly-rocky garden soil. I can put those rocks to work holding my half-buried newspaper in place until it decomposes enough that it won't blow away.
Meanwhile, my little helper looks for places to scatter the egg shells and coffee grounds. Two pointers--you want to dry out the coffee grounds a day or two before putting them on the garden, as they tend to invite mold if you put them out wet. Also, you can powder the egg shells as a great calcium supplement, but if you'd like for them to also repel cutworms and slugs, leave them as larger pieces, hand crushed, with a few sharp edges.
Today's final picture: a home-remedied swatch of garden soil in statio. Only beautiful to the visionary, but today's resting soil prepares for tomorrow's fall-crop planting.