Dry Compacted Soil
Me and my friend are new to gardening. He has a small area, 3' by 9'. It receives about 3 hrs. of sun on the left half and all day full sun on the right. Last spring we added mulch and tilled the soil. I planted poppy flower seeds a few months ago, and on the advice of online forums, only misted the seeds until they started to germinate. Once sprouted, I would water the garden normally, no deep watering. Now the flowers that bloomed grew sparse and stunted on the left and are now drying out on the right. We dug the soil to check it and found it hard, compacted and dry just below the surface. After watering for a few minutes, we dug again and still no seepage. The soil remained compacted and dry just below the surface. We are unsure what to do next. Do we wait until fall and till the soil, but will it become compacted and dry even after watering in a few weeks? Or remove as much soil as we can and add new soil, but the cost? Thanks for your time.