How Soon Is Too Soon To Get The Garden Ready

We are almost there! It's March and springtime means gardening time and for all the gardening enthusiasts that are chomping at the bit when should you get started? No doubt you are already looking at your seed packets and the seed catalogs for those specialty seeds. The garden centers are gearing up with rows and rows of packaged seeds just waiting for you to browse through.

So when exactly should you start working your soil? Be patient! If you work it too early, it is a mistake. The soil is still heavy and wet with spring rain and melting snow. It compacts very easily at this point even when you walk on it. If you start turning your shovels of compact soil at this point you are going to end up with clods that are difficult to break up.

Plants will root the best when the soil has dried enough, so there is space for these tender roots to grow between the soil particles. Clumpy soil can cause pockets of air to form around those little roots, and that is not a good growing condition.

The true test of when that soil is 'ready to turn' is age old. You take a handful of soil (about 1/2 a cup) and squeeze it together forming a ball. Press the ball of soil with your fingers. If it can easily shatter it, it is ready. You can also drop the ball of soil from three feet and if it shatters you can go ahead and start digging! A ball of soil that only breaks with difficulty or keeps it shape is still containing way too much soil. Very wet soil has a 75% and higher water content.

Don't despair if your soil is still too wet. Enjoy this time making your garden planting plan. Remember what you planted last year and what did well in what area of the garden and which crops need rotating to a new spot.

Get ready though, it's going to be another exciting growing season very soon!

Please visit the 'Organic Gardening' website for lots of helpful information.

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