Spring done sprung, spongy soil on the way

Tue. Mar. 20, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Spring done sprung, spongy soil on the way

While it’s simply a day on the calendar to some, the Spring Equinox starts a new gardening season in the minds of many.  Some fun Farmers Almanac Spring Facts

Astronomically speaking, the Vernal Equinox will happen at 11:15 this morning in the northern hemisphere, central time!  The March equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north and vice versa in September.  Equinox is derived from Latin and means “equal night”.

It’s also the moment, I go out and do my happy dance.

So, Spring done Sprung!  But Spring soil can be tricky.  With the bitter cold we had this past winter, you can bet your soil is still frozen.  Check these sites for a ton of climate information.  CoCoRaHS-Minnesota   CoCoRaHS – Wisconsin 

Once the thaw really begins, our soil can be spongy!   If you want to start preparing your garden beds for planting of any type, you really need to make sure the soil is workable.

Don’t mess with wet soil, you’ll create dirt clods that plants don’t like to grow in, you can’t break up easily and could potentially compact your soil for a long time to come.

dirt clods

Forget about tilling, put down the shovel and trowel and back away…  I know the urge is strong but working wet soil will pack soil particles tightly together leaving less room for air and water to penetrate.  Two very important ingredients to plant production!

tilling wet soil

Those dirt clods you create become hard as rocks and are nearly impossible to break up.  If you compact your soil like that it takes years of adding organic matter to try to recreate the healthy soil your plants love.   Adding organics – soil management from U of MN Extension.

You can check if your soil is workable by digging one trowel full of soil, squeeze it in your hands, if it crumbles easily, then you’re good to go.

If it forms a ball, then go inside and sketch your garden on paper!