I live in Lebanon, Oregon, about 30 miles southeast of Salem, Oregon. this
time of year it rains...and rains...and rains...and doesn't usually stop
until May, sometimes June. Does anyone have any pracitcal advice for
gardening in the spring when the soil is wet? Last year all I was able to do
was stick some onion sets in the mud - they did very well, btw, I was very
happy with how that turned out - we had onions all summer long, and there
are still a few sitting in the mud that I missed when cleaning out the
garden in the late fall. Anyhow, I can't till the ground, it's just too wet.
I'm afraid this year will be a repeat - onion sets pushed into the mud :)
Lots of plants will do OK in wet ground. It's not so much an issue of
compatibility. Rather, it's about whether all the human attention compresses
the wet soil, from walking and kneeling on it. So, go to a home supply store
and buy a piece of 1x10 or 1x12 wood, as long as is appropriate, and a pair
of really good knee pads (because it's no fun to kneel on hard wood). Put
the plank down where you need to work. It'll distribute your weight and the
soil won't become as compressed as if you'd knelt directly on it. You do NOT
have to buy treated wood for this. I have a 20 year old plank that's not
rotted at all. Just brush off the soil and stand it up in the garage to dry.
You should have no trouble growing things like broccoli, lettuce, collards,
lobster, swiss chard, escarole, spinach, and anything else that needs to
grow fast before the hot weather arrives.
Incidentally, wet soil in springtime is the reason why many garden authors
suggest that you do all your prep work in the fall, so the ground's ready to
receive seedlings without any tilling. Yes, the soil will have settled over
the winter, but that's nowhere near as bad as what your feet will do to it.
you ever considered using raised beds?
we have pics and description on how we do our beds at our site you are
welcome to have a look.
On Tue, 23 Jan 2007 20:23:32 -0800, "Zootal"
With peace and brightest of blessings,
"Be Content With What You Have And
May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In
A World That You May Not Understand."
Well, once the rainy season is over, everything is just fine. It's just a
challenge sometimes to get spring veggies planted because of the rain/mud.
Summer here is awesome for gardening. It so happens that we had a 3 week dry
spell, and i was able to till my entire garden (Woohoo!). Now it's raining
again but I got the onions, garlic, and potatoes in, and I'm going to try to
poke some pea seeds into the mud this weekend.
My soil drains very well. Last year I planted in beds and tried to flood the
beds to water, but the water drained down into the soil faster then I could
apply it. Ended up setting up sprinklers to water with.
I missed the original post so am not sure whether this suggestion is useful
or not, however. It has been suggested in stuff I have read that planting a
cover crop in late winter/early spring will help dry out water logged soil
prior to spring sowing. The cover crop will soak up some of the rain and dry
the soil quicker. Once the weather improves the cover crop can be killed off
and mulched across the gardens or removed and composted ready to be put back
as a nutrients later in the growing season. Obviously kill the crop off
before it sets seed. Grass is a very simple suggestion or maybe clover which
will also help fix nitrogen. The cover crops can also help harvest existing
nutrients and 'store' them until needed thereby saving them being lost
Unfortunately, I had a real nice cover crop of clover - the miserable stuff
that took over my garden last year. And grass. And leftover garden. I tilled
all of it under, and it will sit for the next couple months until the
weather warms up. My original post was how to plant spring stuff when it
rains every day, day after day, week after month. Non-stop rain from Jan 1
to end of May. Last year I didn't plant much spring stuff because it never
stopped raining. This year we had a 3 week dry spell, and I was able to turn
everything over and get some onions, potatoes, garlic, and peas in the
ground, and I'm trying to move my strawberries while I can. Now it's mud
again, but it's cleared and plowed :)
The best you can hope for is to NOT COMPRESS IT by kneeling or walking
directly on it. Buy a 1x10 or 1x12 board, whatever length is convenient to
handle. Lay that on the area where you need to work. Kneel on that, not
right on the soil. Obviously, it's a hard surface, so you'll need to have
kneepads or some other thing to make you comfortable.
I have to garden in an area that is basically a swamp in the spring. I second
the raised bed idea. I also use a 7'x 14' x 20' hoop house (pvc pipe and green
house plastic) and containers. I especially like the self watering containers
I made from low wide storage tubs and that black perforated drain pipe as they
never get water logged and are pretty cheap to make. I am also slowly adding
terraces to a hill beside the house that are back filled with well draining
soil, but you do get a lot more rain than I do. You might do well with the
hoop house, as that allows you to control water and temp all year long. I
started out with raised beds in mine and now have a combo of raised beds and
cintainers in it.
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