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The Green Thumb: Let your soil dry out

Wet soil
Harrison Haines
Wet soil

Much of the West has experienced rain and snow for the past several weeks. Soils are very wet to the point of where they cannot absorb much more moisture. Many areas are still even covered with snow.

These holes will require additional time to thaw before they can dry out. You might ask, "Do soils need to dry before we can begin working in the garden?"

If we work till or even walk on soils when they are wet, it can cause compaction. This is when soil sticks to itself and becomes extremely hard as it dries. This makes it difficult if not impossible to dig.

It can also cause damage to soil structure by causing many hard clumps to form which become difficult to work back into the soil. Soil that is too wet can be recognized when a ball of soil sticks tightly together when squeezed.

If structures damaged your soil will appear like a bit of 2 to 3 inch gravel. It'll be very difficult to get fertilizer and compost mixed or blended into it.

It'll often take more than a single season to get things back to normal. So, if you're waiting for your soil to dry out, why not start by planting your garden, building some raised beds or start some seedlings.