Don’t work wet soils

I don’t know too many people who have actually had time to get their spring garden planted. The soil has been too wet and we really haven’t had a good period of weather to get things planted.

I scattered a mixture of greens in a raised bed back in February. Since it was a raised bed, it was much drier than my garden soil and I was able to work it up before planting.

Nothing has come up, however, as we haven’t had a stretch of the right weather for it to germinate. It won’t be long, however.

I can’t stress enough the importance of not planting or working the soil when it’s too wet. The result is compacted soil that is hard as a rock. Have you ever used the term “dirt clods?”

Good air space is critical for root growth. Healthy soil has a mixture of sand, silt and clay particles as well as organic matter.

We work really hard to improve the structure of our soil by adding organic matter. Don’t ruin the structure by working with it when it’s wet. This simply compacts the soil and won’t allow for good root growth.

When you pick up a handful of soil, it should crumble between your fingers. If it sticks together, it’s still too wet.

I mentioned last week that there is still time to put down a crabgrass preventer plus fertilizer. Crabgrass germinates when we have had consecutive nights of 56F or higher temperature.

This also coincides with right about the time that forsythia blooms fall off. Since we haven’t even seen forsythia blooms, there is still time!

If you haven’t had crabgrass problems in the past, you only need a fertilizer at this time of the year.

A good thick lawn helps to prevent weeds such as crabgrass and others from creeping in. By fertilizing and keeping the turf thick, you can cut back on herbicides.

And speaking of herbicides (weed control products) it’s too early to start treating for dandelions and other broadleaf weeds. The best time is around late May so that you can get the majority of them at one time.

Good mowing practices are also very important. If you haven’t gotten your blades sharpened by now, do it so that they are ready to go. It won’t be long until we are cutting grass.

I was reading my garden journal and two years ago, we were cutting the grass and eating asparagus on April 1. If you remember, it was extremely warm that spring.

This year is a typical spring according to the weather data and my journal notes.

The garden centers have pansies and snapdragons that can be planted right now (if your flowers beds are dry enough). I usually put these in flower pots near the house because the soil in my containers dries out quicker.

After they finish their spring blooms, I plant them in the garden and replace them with summer flowers.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

D.L. STEWART: Some generations’ changes don’t add up

People of a younger generation can, and do, poke fun at their elders’ fumbling attempts to cope with modern technology. I do it all the time, although that’s getting a lot harder, because I don’t have as many elders as I used to. When you need an easy laugh, you can’t go wrong joking about mom trying to Skype or grandpa putting...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Arm and Hammer Toothpaste This week at Rite-Aid, Arm and Hammer toothpaste is on sale for $3. Although you pay this price upfront, when you check out you will get 200 PlentiPoints back, which is equivalent to $2 good off your next purchase. When you factor in...
Parenting with Dr. Ramey: 6 of the best, most inspiring quotes

In addition to collecting baseball cards, I started writing down favorite quotes when I was in elementary school. My mom “cleaned out” (i.e., threw away) my cards when I went to college, but I’ve continued to collect the inspirational perspectives from others. My collection has changed over the years. I’ve deleted “feel...
He does what? Dogs’ quirks fit them to a Q
He does what? Dogs’ quirks fit them to a Q

Just like their human counterparts, dogs have quirks. Those strange and sometimes unexplainable habits. Dog’s quirks befuddle and amuse their owners. ››MORE PETS: Painting with your dog At the next party you attend, start up a conversation about you dog’s funny habits. It won’t take long for others to describe...
Medical debt relief is coming
Medical debt relief is coming

After more than two years of delays, new rules granting consumers some relief from the harm medical debt can do to their credit will finally go into effect. Beginning Sept. 15, the three main credit bureaus will enact rules they agreed to back in 2015 that require them to provide a 180-day cooling off period before any medical debt goes onto a credit...
More Stories