Rain Rain Rain

New shoots, catkins and snowdrops despite the wet weather.

I am itching to get into the garden, I have plans to dig a small wildlife pond but the soil is too wet, really far too wet to even think about a spot of gardening.

Walking on the soil or the lawn in this weather I would be creating a lot of damage to the soil structure, caking my boots and making a mess everywhere.

A healthy soil is composed of a good crumb structure with plenty of air spaces which allow plant roots to breathe – all live tissue needs to breathe. So when the soil is waterlogged our plants can run into problems particularly in the summer, less so in the winter when the plants are dormant. However less hardy plants may be at risk in the winter months.

In a waterlogged soil, the fragile crumb structure tends to get broken down, there are two reasons for this:

a/ the weight of the rain drops bash the soil surface and physically smash the crumbs to smithereens – to prevent this it is important to keep a good ground cover of plants and / or mulch the soil surface.

b/ the soil crumbs are held together by naturally occurring glue-like substances, these get dissolved by the excessive water in the soil – to help counter this it is always best to plan good drainage (or grow in raised beds) and also to regularly (annually) add organic matter to the soil surface from where earthworms will draw it down into the soil profile making it healthier and more resistant to compaction.

I admit that I have walked over my waterlogged lawn recently and every squelchy footstep will have squashed and crushed the soil crumbs beneath my feet. This can lead to soil compaction which again is detrimental to the health and structure of the soil – I may have to aerate the lawn this spring once things have dried out a bit.

I hope the weather dries up soon so we can all get out into the garden – apart from my new pond, I have some pruning to do and a bit of splitting and potting up and as always there will be some weeding too.

I wish you a Happy New Year in your gardens.

Healthy soil crumb structure
Soil crumb structure
Soil crumb structure