How do I know when its safe to work the soil in my garden?

General    MA

Like everybody else, I'm desperate to get back out in the garden this Spring but I know it can be damaging to start working the soil too early. It's clearly not time yet - there's snow on the ground outside!! How can I tell when the soil is warm enough?

Posted by: Sarah E (1 point) Sarah E
Posted: March 26, 2013


Temperature-wise, it depends on the crop (for planting, not tilling). Early, cool season crops like peas and cabbage family veggies can be planted as soon as the soil temp is over 40-50F. For warm season crops, it should be 60-70 at planting time.
Don't start tilling or walking on the soil when it is too moist. This can harm soil structure and compact the soil. Squeeze a handful of soil. If it easily sticks together rather than falling apart, it is still too wet. If a light poke causes it to break apart, it can be tilled.

Posted by: Joan Allen (4 points) Joan Allen
Posted: March 26, 2013

Sarah E commented,
Thank you for your quick reply Joan! Very helpful
over 9 years ago.

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