Don’t work wet soils

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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.

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