A light mist and cloudy skies may be perfect conditions for planting vegetables. Seeds and tiny transplants gain from moist soil and light watering, and clouds protect tender seedlings from the harsh sun. However, while mist turns into rain, gardening wisdom turns, also. Planting in a wet garden can be damaging to your own vegetables as well as the dirt itself, affecting garden productivity for seasons to come.
Guarding your garden soil is the No. 1 reason to delay planting vegetables until the rain ends as well as the soil dries. Hasty planting can ruin all your preparations. The natural flames, or pores, between soil particles are crucial to healthy plant development. Digging in wet dirt — or even walking on it — compacts these pores. The damaged dirt gets dense and difficult to function, and beneficial microbes may endure. Water drains and consumes slowly, and nutrients and air no longer move freely through the compacted dirt. Once the structural damage is done, recovery can be time- and also labor-intensive. Wet clay soils are especially susceptible to damage. Vegetables create best in loose, light, uncompacted soil.
Wet, muddy dirt sticks to garden tools and forms large clods that withstand breaking up. Those clumps work against proper planting depth and good soil contact for vegetable seeds. In overly wet or compacted soil, the seeds rot before germinating — even when properly positioned. Low temperatures increase the risk. Newly compacted garden dirt forms puddles and retains moisture. The rains that follow planting can wash out the seeds and leave your hopes piled in a garden corner. Surface crusting due to heavy rainfall keeps germinated seeds from breaking through. The new roots can not penetrate the surrounding soil, resulting in weak vegetable seedlings.
Vegetable transplants want the correct mix of soil moisture, nutrients and oxygen. Even established plants favor consistent moisture — never completely dry or soggy — and recently transplanted vegetables require that balance even more. The byproducts of rainy-day planting may restrict oxygen around vulnerable roots and increase the potential for disease. Like germinating seeds, damping-off and stem decay assault vegetable transplants Failing in compacted, poor-draining dirt or planted too deep. Plant growth slows and the plants become susceptible to additional issues. This leads to stunted growth and lower yields. Dry planting keeps dirt well-aerated and well-drained, so water and nutrients move freely and also the tender roots may spread.
Wet soil with good structure only requires a few days to dry out from hard rains. Patience in planting pays off in increased harvest, healthy soil and decreased work. A fast squeeze test enables you to know when post-rain dirt is ready. Use a trowel to dig up a small sum, then squeeze the dirt on your hand. If it sticks together in a ball, it is too wet. Let your garden dry a few days, then try again. If the soil crumbles in your hand and falls during your fingers, you’re good to go.