Got Soggy Soil?
You are anxious to get some greens growing. You tested your soil last fall and you know exactly what your garden beds need. But wait! It has been raining non-stop for weeks and the soil may be too wet to work. Why? If you dig in now, you might wind up with hard pellets instead of loose, workable soil when it dries out. Prevent soil compaction by avoiding cultivating the soil when it is saturated. Soil compaction impedes healthy root growth and is very difficult to correct.
Before you dig, test for soil moisture by squeezing a handful of soil into a ball. Throw the ball up about 6 to 8 inches and let it fall back into your open hand. If it breaks apart easily, you can work the soil. If it stays together, the soil needs to dry out more.
Speed up the drying-out process by covering the soil with plastic for a few weeks. Be nice to the worms and make sure the soil is well mulched with organic bedding material such as burlap, leaves or cardboard before you lay down the plastic. A cloche or cold frame works well to both dry out and heat up the soil so seeds will more readily germinate. Raised beds will also heat up and dry out more quickly. Construct a cloche over a raised bed and get a jump-start on the season!