The rain did appear to help. Things have been dry. I have an EXCELLENT roof for collecting runoff - until I have my rain barrels in place, I've been using this collection of 5-gallon buckets to catch what falls in. Our city water is terrible - we surely do not drink it, but you can smell the chemicals soon as you open the tap. I'm certain that has done the garden no favors either. Have been just filling my rain buckets a day ahead and then watering out of them later.
Didn't know you could test soil some with bicarbonate. Interesting! I'll have to try that too!
You prolly don't want this year's crop of veggies... how about next year, when I hope to have things more under control?