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Only Work Dry Gardens!

by | Feb 8, 2010

Fall Planted Beds 2

The fall planted garden (about 12,000) plants covered in a blanket of snow. I removed the floating row covers from the hoops to keep them from smashing the plants. Snow acts as a wonderful insulating blanket.

I am beginning to wonder if the garden will ever dry out for early spring plantings and soil prep chores. I don't know that I ever remember a wetter winter and am holding my breath over crops that we planted in the fall. It is so wet that I can't even walk the pathways to harvest winter veggies without sinking up to my ankles–

I am most thankful during wet times like this that we garden in raised beds. Unfortunately because we have so many beds it isn't practical for  our pathways to be total permanent. A permanent walkway would be very compacted and mulched with either bark or some gardens have gravel- the benefit is you can get into your garden no matter the weather. Our pathways pretty much stay in the same spot from year to year–but this year even the subsoil (the layer below your top few inches) is saturated and makes for sinking when wet.

One of the most important things to remember is to stay off of and don't dig in wet soil. You cause damage to the soil structure that is next to impossible to reverse. Think of all the soil squishing that goes on under each foot step when the soil is wet. You literally squeeze everything together that is really hard to break apart. So the rule is do not walk in the garden when it is soaking wet as it is now and it is far easier to wait until the soil dries out to do your soil prepping chores.

You know that the soil is dry enough when you take a fist full of soil, make it into a baseball size ball and drop it to the ground from your waist level. If the soil ball breaks apart without large clumps, its dry enough. If it sticks together or has several large clumps, wait.

In addition to raised beds draining better, keeping your plants roots above the garden sea level when wet, but the beds also dryout and warm-up faster.

So hang-on for soil chores–read a good garden book and get smart. Clcik here to view the books I recommend.

It's just about time–

Lisa Z

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