I made a mistake with a garden once and I wonder if there are similar symptoms here. Are you absolutely sure the compost
was finished? I ask because I mistakenly used a large amount of compost
in a top-soil mixture (50-50 mix) on top of a new garden site. The foliage grew like crazy but the “fruit” part of the plants were pretty disappointing. I later figured out that because the compost wasn’t finished, I had an excess of nitrogen and too little calcium.
Strawberries: If by lousy you mean small fruit
, then you may know you have a calcium deficiency. If the foliage is not doing well, then you may have a nitrogen deficiency.
Sweetcorn: Corn is a heavy nitrogen feeder. It’s the very reason why farmers rotate beans before planting corn. You may have a nitrogen deficiency where some of the corn is planted.
Beans: Very intolerant to salinity in soil and water; very sensitive to pH<6.0. Mg deficiency may occur in acid soils while being picky about micronutrients: sensitive to excessive Boron and to deficiencies of Copper, Molybdenum and particularly Zinc.
Peas: Needs well-drained soils and pH between 6 and 7.
I provide all this info because you can figure out what your soil is all about by what’s happening with the plants without going to the trouble of soil testing. You’ll also want to understand whether the test you may order is assessing plant-available nutrients or just the presence of them in the soil (two different things).
There are a host of websites and books
that can help you identify each of the signs for each of the plants you’re growing to tell you what’s going on. Just like a doctor figures out what’s wrong with you based on symptoms, we can assess the symptoms and signs to know what may be happening with plants and the soil they’re in.
A 20’X40’ garden is a tight space for lots of different nutritional needs you’re asking the soil to produce. Having a strong handle on companion plantings for what you want to grow can also be helpful. Just a suggestion.
Hope this is helpful. This is all based on assuming that the plants are receiving the required sun and water needs.