User avatar
BrianSkilton
Green Thumb
Posts: 547
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:59 pm
Location: South Dakota

Tilling when wet - Not recommended :(

Well guys I got out to do some tilling after a break in all this rain ( a short break unfortunately :( ). I was lucky to get most of my colder weather plants out at the start of April before all this rain. Anyway I tilled the raised beds mainly by hand. They were perfectly moist to till, however my plot were I have no raised bed, it was saturated and still very moist. Anyway i tilled, and I knew better ugh. Anyway there are clumps everywhere, how does one go about smoothing this out again. Just keep adding organic matter?
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
-Nick

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

When it dries out, can you fork it, either with a regular-sized fork or a broadfork? Starting at the far end and working backwards, just inserting the fork to the length of its tines and wiggling them, should help create channels for roots.

Growing grains or other plants with wide-ranging root systems will help, too; root veggies are prima donnas about subsurface conditions, so they're probably a no-go.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7646
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
Location: Oregon

Working wet ground can damage the structure of the soil, making it stick together in clumps. It's especially bad to work clay soils when wet. You might want to consider converting your in-ground garden to raised beds, if the soil in your area stays wet late into the spring.

Purdue University published this brief article on the subject:

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/wetsoil.html
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

My approach is to till in the fall. Then in the spring, just plant. Once you have made those clumps, it takes a long time for them to break down.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
BrianSkilton
Green Thumb
Posts: 547
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:59 pm
Location: South Dakota

Yeah, I think next year I'm going to just put some raised beds there. I love raised beds, they hardly compact, easy to till, drains very well. I have seven of them, however that main plot I just haven't converted yet. it was mainly clay with some black top soil. Thing that sucks is I added compost to it before I tilled as well, what a waste. Well, I'll try my best to smooth it out, but like you said those clumps are hard as a rock! Anyway I would till in the fall but when 2-3 feet of snow fall on it every year it compacts that area.
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
-Nick



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”