Slow going for planting. Rain will continue through the week. Staying off the planting areas is always a good idea, but it’s especially important when it’s raining. The reasons to avoid planting in the rain?
- compacts the soil
- seeds can be washed away
- planting seedlings can be especially difficult as the soil/mud can smother the roots
- working the soil will often bind the clay together
- working the soil can also create a crusty surface layer that small seeds cannot break through
Tilling is definitely out of the question, as it creates “hard pan” – an area below the soil that the roots cannot penetrate. According to http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/sty/2005/soils_dry030805.htm, “… As a general rule, soil is too wet to work if you can press a handful of it into a muddy ball. It’s okay if it’s a little cool and damp, but crumbles.”
Have a large garden bed instead of rows? Use several boards or squares of carpet remnants to step on in order to spread the weight and reduce compaction. Cardboard will work too, but I’ve found it extremely slippery.
What’s the best solution for planting in the rain? Unsure, but I’m trying out the newspaper killing mulch on the wicking bed that was definitely muddy, with some crumbled compost/soil mix on top of them. Tomorrow I may attempt minimally disturbed soil with light compost layer and a grass-clippings layer on top of that.