Resist the urge to plant when it's wet, because if the soil is saturated digging in it can ruin the soil structure.

Gardeners are like small-time farmers this time of year.

Usually, they’re watching the skies and hoping for rain to get plants off to a good start.

This spring, it’s the opposite. They’re waiting for the ground to dry so they can get in the rest of their veggies and flowers.

A few days of sun would do the trick, although that could be a challenge given the forecast for the next 10 days or so.

“Gardening with an umbrella might be the only way I will get into the yard this weekend,” said Scott Evans, horticulture program coordinator for the Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. “I might set a trend, who knows?”


It will be raining off and on for the next several days.

With the soggy forecast, don’t be in a hurry to start playing in the dirt.

Resist the urge to plant when it’s wet, because if the soil is saturated, digging can ruin its structure.

Walking on the wet ground not only will leave your shoes a mess, but it will compact the soil and eliminate the air spaces.

“Once the soil looks dry on the surface, it will be safe to work in the garden again,” Evans said.

Some gardeners try to get around wet conditions by putting plants in fresh dirt instead of the wet mess in their garden. That doesn’t work either; it can lead to drainage issues.

Evans said it’s important to turn off sprinkler systems during rain days.

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“It is easier to add water than removing it,” he said. “Waterlogged soils will create anaerobic conditions that will make the plant use up stored energy. This can have long-term effects on the overall health of the plant.”

Don’t fertilize stressed plants, which can make things worse. Plant lovers often think of fertilizer as food, and that’s not the case.

“Fertilizers promote growth, and when a plant is stressed, it wants to work on overcoming that stress,” he said. “The fertilizer will stimulate growth and not allow the plant to recover. The best thing that we can do is to leave it alone.”

As challenging as this spring has been, Evans said it’s important to learn from it. Take a few minutes to jot down what’s going on in your garden.

“We still have a lot of growing season ahead of us,” he said, “and if something didn’t take or died after planting, we have time to replant.”