Patience, my dear. Patience.

As hard as it is to wait, let your soil dry out before you work it—or even walk on it very much—advises Carol Westergreen, owner of Out in the Garden Nursery. You’ll be glad you waited. Almost everyone in the Northwest has an abundance of clay in their soil. Clay is notorious for poor drainage and when wet, it is easily compacted. Without the addition of organic matter, when clay dries out it becomes hard and difficult to work. To determine when it’s a good time to work your soil, pick up a hand full and gently squeeze your hand into a fist. If you have a wad of soil when you open your hand it’s still too wet to work. If it crumbles, get planting!

Recently, I was able to get some of my garden planted in areas that are typically considered “dry shade” during the summer months, but the rest of the garden is still too wet to get much done (although plucking those early weeds is satisfying work at this time of year, as is pruning). Those ornamental Alliums I bought at the Yard, Garden & Patio Show, are just going to have to wait at least another week before getting tucked into their new garden home.

For information to help you improve your garden soil, click here.